Principal Investigator at Research Triangle Institute leading the development of interactive emotive virtual humans with emotions that affect their body and facial gestures, decision-making, and language generation (Funding from National Science Foundation, commercial, and government clients).† RTIís AVAtalkô technology creates responsive, individual virtual personalities (www.rvht.info). In an AVAtalkô -enabled application, users carry on spoken conversation with a simulated person (an avatar) and see and hear realistic responses from the avatar.† RTIís ExhibitARô is an interactive kiosk for tradeshows and promotional events. It features male and female virtual people who talk with and respond to kiosk visitors with informative and enjoyable spoken dialog.
We describe the Virtual Standardized Patient (VSP) application, having who interacts with medical practitioners in much the same way as actors hired to teach and evaluate patient assessment and interviewing skills. The VSP integrates technologies from two successful research projects conducted at Research Triangle Institute (RTI provides natural language processing, emotion and behavior modeling, and composite facial expression and lip-shape modeling for a natural patient-practitioner dialogue. Trauma Patient Simulator (TPS) provides case-based patient history and trauma casualty data, real-time physiological modeling, interactive patient assessment, 3-D scenario simulation, and instructional record-keeping capabilities. The VSP offers training benefits that include enhanced adaptability, availability, and assessment.
Research on survey non-response suggests that advanced communication and listening skills are among the best strategies telephone interviewers can employ for obtaining survey participation, allowing them to identify and address respondents' concerns immediately with appropriate, tailored language. Yet, training on interaction skills is typically insufficient, relying on role-playing or passive learning through lecture and videos. What is required is repetitive, structured practice in a realistic work environment. This research examines acceptance by trainees of an application based on responsive virtual human technology (RVHT) as a tool for teaching refusal avoidance skills to telephone interviewers. The application tested here allows interviewers to practice confronting common objections offered by reluctant sample members. Trainee acceptance of the training tool as a realistic simulation of "real life" interviewing situations is the first phase in evaluating the overall effectiveness of the RVHT approach. Data were gathered from two sources -- structured debrief questionnaires administered to users of the application, and observations of users by researchers and instructors. The application was tested with a group of approximately fifty telephone interviewers of varying skill and experience levels. The research presents findings from these acceptance evaluations and discusses users' experiences with and perceived effectiveness of the virtual training tool.
In this paper, we describe an application of responsive virtual humans to train law enforcement personnel in dealing with subjects that present symptoms of serious mental illness. JUST-TALK provides a computerized virtual person to interact with the student in a role-playing environment. Students were able to converse with the virtual person using spoken natural language and see and hear the virtual personality
a combination of facial gesture, body movements, and spoken language. The JUST-TALK project, funded by the National Institute of Justice Office of Science and Technology and developed by RTI International, involved integrating virtual reality training software within a 3-day class at the North Carolina Justice Academy. The course was structured to include classroom-based lecture, videos, discussion, live human role-playing, and virtual human role-playing.