tl;dr Visited IVA conference; presented one paper; demoed LOITER prototype game; collaborated on SO-I-C TV
Last week, I visited the 2015 Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA) conference, together with several colleagues of HMI. There, I presented my research on feedback in LOITER, our prototype of a serious game for social skills training. In LOITER, the player takes on the role of a police officer who has to resolve a conflict with some loitering juveniles. Depending on the choices the player makes, the juveniles will respond friendly, hostile, dominantly or submissively. While players see both the verbal and nonverbal response of the juvenile, I designed the game so that the player is given extra feedback in the form of thought bubbles and flashbacks, see below.
We evaluated this with police students from the Dutch Police Academy, yet we were not able to find an improvement of the game’s learning effects that we could attribute to this feedback. The full details are in the paper, which can be accessed here.
I also demoed the game itself at the IVA conference, as you can see below. A short description has also been published in the proceedings of IVA; you can find it here.
Of course, IVA featured way more research than just my own. In quite a few talks I saw the interpersonal circumplex return (the model for analysing interpersonal behaviour we also use for our games); not surprising, given the conference’s theme was ‘social training’. Merijn Bruijnes also give a talk related to this topic, presenting his ‘virtual suspect’, William, which may be used in training for police interviews.
One talk by Kevin Corti really stuck to me, because it was a very refreshing take on human-agent interaction. Corti explained how they performed experiments with a real-life human, dubbed an echoborg, who simply mimicked the behaviour of a virtual agent. Of course, this included all kinds of awkward pauses and weird nonverbal behaviour, yet Corti presented this as a possible new paradigm for doing research on cognitive models for virtual agents.
SO I C TV
In addition to lots of rather serious talks, we also had some serious fun. Together with Dirk, Jan, Merijn, Adrien and Siewart, I worked on a brand new tele-presence experience, called SO I C TV.
With this appliance, you can simply tele-connect to anybody wearing the SO I C TV and be omnipresent. In all seriousness: you can connect with a teleconference application and project your image on the screen while instructing the wearer where to go and what to do. We first demoed this as a surprise demo at the IVA conference and the first reactions have been very positive. Surely, there will be more news on this topic soon. Stay informed at SO-I-C.TV.