Friday, February 22, 2008

Emotiv and the Emotional Character

Dr. Demetri Terzopoulos of the University of New York's Courant Institute would like to create a Matrix like environment that is fully immersable and populated by virtual people capable of emotions and the ability to read emotions in others. He dreams of a day when we are able to physically plug into this environment and experience different worlds that look and fill natural. His research along with his former student's, UCLA's Dr. Petros Faloutsos, research in real time animation and CGI character generation are creating environments where CGI characters (mainly fish and intelligent subway occupants at the moment) interact in complex ways and display properties that many would call intelligent. It is the hope that as the technology grows the movie and game industries will benefit by being able to have intelligent characters that are capable of dangerous and highly interactive behaviors typically performed by stunt men and actors. The game industry will really benefit by having more intelligent and naturally behaving characters, which brings us to the next section...The Emotiv game controller.

A small startup company named "Emotiv" plans to release a special game controller later this year that you wear like a helmet. The controller is reported to be able to read facial expressions and brain activity occurring between neurons from which it is capable of controlling objects or activities on the computer. If this controller is truly capable of what news reports claim it is, then this will be a breakthrough in computer technology bigger than the mouse and will open up a whole new world in interaction with the computers we have fallen so in love with. The first and most important use of this controller will be the use of it to control the facial expressions of avatars in virtual worlds like 2nd Life. If you can control your emotions and mind really well, you will be able to do a whole lot more with it than just operate a more expressive avatar.

Now taking virtual characters that can understand emotion and coupling them with a device that can read your emotions and basic brain activity moves us one step closer to a Matrix like environment. Imagine playing games where your ability to act and control your thoughts and emotions determine the outcome of the game. Imagine how this "mental training" could alter your personality. All this play could very well change the structure of your brain and your personality could shift in ways similar to actors who get into their roles a little too much and take a part of their characters with them after the final cut.

More Information:
Magix Projects UCLA
Dr. Demetri Terzopoulos
Emotiv

No comments:

Followers