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Resource Database > Avatar Interfacing
Related information is also held in the following Categories:
Locomotion | Sensation | Avatar Creation | Avatars and Personification | Haptics | Embodied Avatars
 
An avatar is not your birth body, however real, and total it might one-day become. This means that the natural connections between brain and body, never formed between you and your avatar. They have to be made, or remade anew, in order for you to control the form fully.

As with a human body, or any organic shell, the technological form of the avatar has a bewildering number of potential control points, and degrees of interface. Every sense, every action potential, every subconscious gesture. All must be accounted for in one way or another, if we are to bypass the uncanny valley with these embodied forms, and make them come alive.

It is a truly mammoth task, but, one which offers the potential to truly revolutionise life, locked-in life, and business as we know it, as each piece of it is realised.


Sections


Skeletons, Boning, and MoCap (12)

One of the most fundamental of interaction methods is movement; realistic movement of the avatar, and having itís limbs do what the controlling mind expects. Mocap is one sure-fire way of achieving this, but to interface it with the avatar there are quite a few steps to overcome.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Bone WeightingHierarchical Skeletal Modelling System
MoCapPiezo Phototronics
Procedural AnimationRigid Body Dynamics
Sensory ModalitySkeletal Animation System
Skeletal Modelling System
Locally Hosted resource
Finger Movement Patterns for Complex Tasks Anticipate the Position for Task after Next
The movement of the natural body when it comes to in depth, detailed tasks that require lots of little finger movements, is it seems, something which is defined as much by the tasks before and after the one the fingers are doing, as it is by the task the fingers are doing right now. This is a real problem when it comes to figuring out how to replicate natural-looking finger movements.

Locally Hosted resource
Large Image Display: Simone: Mocap Animation Differences
In Lessons from Simone: MoCap Filter , it was discussed how Simone whilst yes she was controlled by Victor?s body movements in a MoCap system, never quite copied those movements perfectly. Whereas Viktor's movements are not always feminine, Simone moves with a permanent feminine grace.

Locally Hosted resource
Lessons from Simone: MoCap Filter
Simone is a seminal virtual reality film, and there are several aspects of both the technology of VR and the social impact, which the film carries off very well, and which deserve to stand on their own merits. The MoCap filter the film alludes to, is one such aspect.



Tying Sight to Eyes (6)

When you interact with a virtual environment, all-too-often, it is not via the avatar formís eyes, but by an invisible camera above or behind itís head. What could be the possible benefits of seeing through an avatarís eyes, rather than using this method? If there are benefits, why is this not achieved more often?
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Binocular DisparityHead-Related Transfer Function
HyperstereoHypostereo
Interpupilary DistanceSensory Modality


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Binaural Sound (5)

Binaural literally means binary sound Ė two sound processing regions located on different parts of the head. In human terms; ears. With binaural sound methodologies, it is possible to alter soundwaves to give the true feeling of 3D Ė using the placement of ears on the avatar, and the shape of the avatar head to change the audio experience fundamentally.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
BinauralBinaural Sound Synthesis
Head-Related Transfer FunctionSpatial Filter
Locally Hosted resource
Looks more important than Sounds in Speech
A neurological experiment has confirmed that the McGurk effect - a long-known phenomenon where what you see overrides what you hear - is indeed codified directly into the sound processing regions of the brain. Meaning the McGurk effect is not something that can be barpassed in our virtual environments, and is not a trick of sensory perception, but rather is a cornerstone of sound perception itself.



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Adding in Balance (4)

The inner ear has long been a bane of simulation. Simulation sickness, a form of motion sickness, arises when the inner ear and other senses are in disagreement about what is occurring. Tying this sense into the avatar directly, would solve so much in terms of interaction, and make much of the rest, possible.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Galvanic Vestibular StimulationSensory Modality
Simulation Sickness
Locally Hosted resource
Multiple Sensory Modalities Proven to Reinforce Each Other
Usually when we think of sensory input channels - sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, balance - we think of the traditional hierarchical order, under the brain. It seems that that hierarchy is not as cut and dried as we once thought, with interesting implications for virtual worlds.



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Avatars and Scent (0)

Smell is one of the most primal of senses, and one all-too-often lacking in virtual environments. We can replicate it with scent interfaces that deliver smells to the human olfactory system. However, what about bypassing that, transmitting scent from the avatar directly, as what the avatar smells, without relying on physical senses to pick up the slack?


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Working the Avatar Mouth (0)

The mouth of an avatar is more than just decoration. Lip, teeth and tongue movements are an expressive aid. They transmit so much emotion, inflection of words, and lip reading offers a valuable counterpart to communication. Is it possible to tie these abilities in as well?


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Licking and Tasting (0)

Licking, sucking, they are both uses of the mouth to taste the environment around it. Chewing food is much the same way; it allows a sensory channel quite unlike any other. Properly interfacing these input channels with the human mind is difficult, but if it can be done, another whole world of possibilities opens up.


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Avatar Telehaptics (0)

The joy of touch. This is an integral part of a well adjusted, balanced life. To feel the touch of another, to touch another, yourself; to feel the texture of the world around you, the clothing you wear, the desk you lean against. This is a major input channel, arguably superior to vision itself. How would we go about delivering tactile sensation from the avatar?

Note: This section is a subdivision of Haptics. For more information on the sense of touch and itís virtual recreation, please see that section.


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Feeling Pain (0)

Pain is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it adds a little spice; sometimes makes one feel alive. Adding in even the option of feeling pain when the avatar body feels it, is a complex task; more complex even than haptics, although the two are closely related. Where do we wven begin, to interface with that?

Note: This section is a subdivision of Haptics. For more information on pain and itís virtual recreation, please see that section.


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Ragdoll Physics and the Interface (6)

Prioproception. It is an essential sense. The subconscious feeling of knowing where all your limbs are, and their positions relative to one another, without even looking. With an avatar, you donít normally have that sense, yet it is vital to all forms of movement. More than that, when your body is flung around, whilst the limbs are not under your control, you still feel their positions change. How do we recreate either, with the avatar?
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Bone WeightingHierarchical Skeletal Modelling System
Procedural AnimationRagdoll physics
Rigid Body Dynamics

Whilst over 30 years old now, this book is one of those whose usefulness is never likely to fade. It is a physics book, dealing with the mathematics and physical constraints of getting any rigid body jointed system to move as desired. Designed initially with robots in mind, long before the avatar, the maths contained within is ideal for grounding on ragdoll physics as used with avatars.