Universität Bielefeld Technische Fakultät - AG Wissensbasierte Systeme

Max, our Agent in the Virtual World
A machine that communicates with humans
Ein situierter künstlicher Kommunikator in virtueller Realität

Ipke Wachsmuth

Faculty of Technology
University of Bielefeld


Will it be possible one day to have machines that live up to human communication abilities, in that they "understand" what we want them to do and can take on the role of social partners? A technical aim of research in artificial intelligence is the advancement of human-machine interaction by way of systems which use speech and gesture to make communication with the human more intuitive. In the Collaborative Research Center SFB 360, "Situated Artificial Communicators", an anthropomorphic agent, Max, is under development inserted in large-scale virtual reality. Situated in a virtual world of cooperative construction tasks, the agent Max can perform diverse activities and conduct a dialog with the human user. By means of microphones and tracker systems, Max can "hear" and "see", and is able to understand spoken instructions and gestures. Equipped with a synthetic voice and an articulated body and face, Max is able to speak and gesture, and to mimic emotions. Beyond the aspect of technical achievement our research is led by the expectation that the construction and test of an artificial communicator will help to reach a more profound understanding of human communication, possibly the most impressive field of human intelligence.

  • Some demos: Max introduced [mpg; 9MB] - Imitation [mpg; 14 MB] - Emotion [mpg; 59 MB]
  • Slides [2.7 MB; pdf]
  • Short GERMAN article [pdf]
  • (more pictures) from Uni Bielefeld Research Magazine 24/2002

    Talks: Günne 12-03-2003, Derry 26-03-2003, Freiburg 27-06-2003, Frankfurt 02-10-2003, Münster 7-11-2003, Bielefeld 13-12-2006, Duisburg 18-01-2007

    Ipke Wachsmuth, last updated 2006-12-04