Virtual Humans for Learning

  • William Swartout University of Southern California
  • Ron Artstein University of Southern California
  • Eric Forbell University of Southern California
  • Susan Foutz Independent Consultant
  • H. Chad Lane University of Southern California
  • Belinda Lange University of Southern California
  • Jacquelyn Ford Morie All These Worlds, LLC
  • Albert Skip Rizzo University of Southern California
  • David Traum University of Southern California

Abstract

Virtual humans are computer-generated characters designed to look and behave like real people. Studies have shown that virtual humans can mimic many of the social effects that one finds in human-human interactions such as creating rapport, and people respond to virtual humans in ways that are similar to how they respond to real people. We believe that virtual humans represent a new metaphor for interacting with computers, one in which working with a computer becomes much like interacting with a person and this can bring social elements to the interaction that are not easily supported with conventional interfaces. We present two systems that embody these ideas. The first, the Twins are virtual docents in the Museum of Science, Boston, designed to engage visitors and raise their awareness and knowledge of science. The second SimCoach, uses an empathetic virtual human to provide veterans and their families with information about PTSD and depression.

Author Biographies

William Swartout, University of Southern California
Institute for Creative Technologies
Ron Artstein, University of Southern California
Institute for Creative Technologies
Eric Forbell, University of Southern California
Institute for Creative Technologies
H. Chad Lane, University of Southern California
Institute for Creative Technologies
Belinda Lange, University of Southern California
Institute for Creative Technologies
David Traum, University of Southern California
Institute for Creative Technologies
Published
2013-12-15
Section
Articles