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02/10/2015 Dynamic Duo: Co - presenting with Virtual Agents

An avatar is a graphical representation of an individual in two or three dimensional form. With technology progressing, avatars are becoming more and more realistic, and closer in similarity to their human counterparts.

The College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University in Boston have created one such life - sized, animated avatar. Specifically, their avatar - known as "Angela" - aids inexperienced public speakers in delivering their presentation to an audience. Angela can communicate naturally and expressively using CereProc's TTS engine. She also has the ability to move, as well as display a variety of non -verbal behaviours such as facial expressions, posture shift and head nods.

The department's research found that having a co-presenter, there were significant improvements in public speaking anxiety, and confidence was boosted in non - native English speakers. The results were published in "Dynamic Duo: Co - presenting with Virtual Agents" by Ha Trinh, Lazlo Ring and Timoth Bickmore. You can read it here.

Dynamic Duo: Co-presenting with Virtual Agents