SuperAvatar: Children and mobile tourist guides become friends using superpowered avatars

Abstract: When tourists are wandering around in a town or city they do not know, it is normal to use a guide to make up their mind on what is more interesting in the surrounding. If the guide is an interactive one on a mobile device, they can also consult multimedia material and listen to audio descriptions. But what if the user is a children that is much more prone to get distracted? In this paper, we propose the presentation of touristic and cultural information to children through an augmented-reality approach. In order to keep focused the attention of the young users we make use of a virtual tourist guide, appearing as a comic book superhero. To get a realistic representation of the avatar we exploit a technique for fast simulating talking heads, which is portable on mobile devices. The technique is based on preloading a set of meshes representing different phonemes and switching among them in order to simulate animation, without the need of computing the update for an entire face model. In addition, we report on a first Android prototype, which shows the effectiveness of the approach for increasing children’s learning.

Authors: F. Sorrentino, L. D. Spano, R. Scateni.
SuperAvatar: Children and mobile tourist guides become friends using superpowered avatars.
Motivating students with Mobiles (MsM’2015), part of IMCL2015, 222-226.
Salonicco, Grecia, Novembre 2015.

THAL-k: TalkingHead Animation Library

Abstract: We present here the ?rst release of an SDK (Software Development Kit) for mobile devices supporting the animation of 3D talking heads: THAL-k. The SDK is constantly evolving and here we discuss the features of version 1.0. This library is thought as a support for all the developers wishing to build applications on smartphones or tablets including avatars to enhance the interaction functionalities. The main challenge we face is to provide developers with a complete SDK for the creation, customization and real-time animation of the models.

Authors: F. Sorrentino, R. Scateni.
THAL-k: TalkingHead Animation Library.
CG Libs Smart Libraries for Computer Graphics (poster).
Pisa, Italia, Giugno 2013.