At AAL Forum 2015
23 September 2015 - Ghent, Belgium

Avatars, also known as Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs), have been successfully employed in several domains, including gaming, education, health, training etc. Recently, the domain of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) has also been active in incorporating avatars as a front-end interface for elderly oriented solutions and services. Avatars provide an intuitive and natural way for elderly users to interact with intelligent systems that offer services or help them with their daily activities.

Since emotions play a fundamental role in human communication, within the scope of AAL, the affective capabilities an agent employs have strong impact on the perception of its intelligence, quality of interaction, and more importantly, on user engagement.  Affective interaction involves several aspects like the recognition of the user’s affective state, based for example on speech and video processing, the computational modelling of the agent’s affective state and behaviour, expression of affect via animated facial and/or bodily expressions, dialogue management which gracefully handles errors and interruptions, etc.

Successfully addressing open challenges in these domains can increase the frequency and quality of interaction, leading to a better acceptance of the agents and, in general, of AAL solutions. Principles of affective interaction may be similarly applied to robot-based systems to gain similar benefits in the domain on Ambient Intelligence.

Topics of interest

This interactive session aims at discussing different aspects for the affective interaction with avatars (and robots). Topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Affect recognition using different modalities, e.g. physiological signals, voice, facial expressions, and gestures
  2. Affect fusion from different modalities under different time constraints
  3. Advanced dialogue management for affective avatar interaction
  4. Computational models of moods, emotions, personalities and memory
  5. Affective and empathic behaviour in expressive avatars
  6. Evaluation studies and case studies from a point of view of practical applications

Expected outcome

  • Awareness of the need of emotional understanding and emotional feedback for user acceptance
  • Experience with different methods for recognizing/showing emotions
  • Future research directions
  • Lessons learned from existing projects for field trials

Program and Speakers

To be announced. Preliminary overview:

Short introduction by session chair (3-5min)
hort talks by invited speakers (~10min each) on existing projects, importance of emotional understanding, and lessons learned
Open discussion (~50min)

Speakers will come from different EU research projects, like Cameli, SocialRobot, DALIA, Miraculous Life.