London, Sep 11 (ANI): While Avatars offer a better way to communicate with their graphics and sound quality, researchers have developed a new software that may help virtual characters appear more lifelike by imbuing them with realistic body language.
Rather than assign physical gestures based on the literal meaning of a person's spoken words, the program focuses on prosody, the combination of vocal rhythm, intonation and stress.
To assemble a library of gestures associated with prosody features, Sergey Levine and Vladlen Koltun at Stanford University, California, used a motion-capture studio to digitise the movements that an actor made as he spoke.
They used this library to teach their system to correlate features of the actor's speech with the style of his gestures, such as their size and speed, and whether they were angular or smooth, reports New Scientist.
As the system learns to associate a gestural style, rather than specific gestures, with specific prosody features, it can use different gesture libraries for different situations.
For example, when a person is speaking while sitting, or holding things in their hands.
They could even be applied to non-human forms - an octopus, for example, provided an animator can figure out what an octopus's gestures might be.
The researchers hope their system will facilitate more effective online communication for the growing legions of telecommuters, reducing miscommunication while saving on travel costs and carbon emissions. (ANI)