Software Tools for the Development and Reuse of Avatars with Culture-Specific Behaviors

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: W31P4Q-04-C-R237
Agency Tracking Number: 04SB1-0160
Amount: $98,990.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: SB041-009
Solicitation Number: 2004.1
Small Business Information
VCOM3D, INC.
3452 Lake Lynda Dr., Suite 260, Orlando, FL, 32817
DUNS: 799834254
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Edward Sims
 Chief Technology Officer
 (407) 737-7309
 eds@vcom3d.com
Business Contact
 Carol Wideman
Title: CEO
Phone: (407) 737-4695
Email: carolw@vcom3d.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
In order to increase the accessibility to courses in Foreign Languages and cultures, organizations such as the Defense Language Institute (DLI) are developing distributed learning courses that include responsive, multi-cultural avatars. Currently, training simulations employing these avatars must be developed independently for each language and culture, at a significant expense. Furthermore, the avatars developed for these courses are not necessarily designed to support reuse by other projects, such as DARWARS. For this Phase I SBIR Project, Vcom3D will develop a modular architecture for avatars that can be easily modified to model different cultures and contexts. Our approach will be to separate the "meaning and intent" of character interactions from the culture-specific ways in which individual characters convey this information through speech, gesture, and action. We will develop a proof-of-concept authoring tool for creating training simulations that can be tailored for different cultures by embedding virtual characters with appropriate "built-in" behaviors. We will conduct an evaluation of the performance, accuracy, and "believability" of the behaviors with DLI faculty and other appropriate subject matter experts. To support rapid adaptation of this technology by other programs, we will develop to Web, IEEE, and ISO-track standards such as XML, HLA, X3D, and H-Anim.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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