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Update: 29 November 2000

Currently typing up my writeup on Pentland's paper. Added an alternative outlook to the history page.

Update: 28 November 2000

A wholesale revamp of the site. Finished reading Pentland's paper. A writeup is almost ready in my writeup directory. I just need to type up the rest of the stuff I wrote on the plane from SFO. Built the Glossary. Please inform me if there is something to add.

Update: 27 November 2000

Started reading Pentland's paper. You will see notes on the notes page. He talks about Smart Rooms and ECAs. Its quite interesting how he uses a primitive 'blob' method to recognize people and expressions.

Update: 26 November 2000

Readings on History and importance of HCI. Also finished writing up paper on ECAs and toy rooms. Update History and Importance of HCI pages.

Update: 24 November 2000

Finished reading different definitions of HCI. Updated Intro page.

Update: 23 November 2000


Vision and Modeling Group:
Alex P. Pentland:
Smart Rooms. The Artificial Life Interactive Video Environment (ALIVE) Project
My take on it: In order to create interactive and believable conversational agents Pentland and his group have been working with testbeds called Smart Rooms. These are equipped with real-time capabilities that track humans, recognize hand and body gestures, recognize faces and voices, and finally interpret all of these. ALIVE is an application of these Smart Rooms. In summary, the user is recognized in a given environment, filtered out and isolated, his expressions and gestures are captured and analyzed and mapped onto templates that correspond to earlier captures and the system then tries to make sense of what its observed so far. In ALIVE, this information is used to run agents (that already have set characteristics, motor modules and internal states) and make them interact with the user using an immersive 3D environment. [Postscript]
Smart Rooms
ALIVE paper [PDF]

Update: 08 November 2000

Gesture and Narrative Language Group:
Justine Cassell:
"More Than Just a Pretty Face: Conversational Protocols and the Affordances of Embodiment." Knowledge Based Systems.
Abstract:Prior research into embodied interface agents has found that users like them and find them engaging. However, results on the effectiveness of these interfaces for task completion have been mixed. In this paper, we argue that embodiment can serve an even stronger function if system designers use actual human conversational protocols in the design of the interface. Communicative behaviors such as salutations and farewells, conversational turn-taking with interruptions, and describing objects using hand gestures are examples of protocols that all native speakers of a language already know how to perform and can thus be leveraged in an intelligent interface. We discuss how these protocols are integrated into Rea, an embodied, multi-modal interface agent who acts as a real-estate salesperson, and we show why embodiment is required for their successful implementation. [PDF]
"More Than Just a Pretty Face: Embodied Conversational Interface Agents."
Abstract:In this article I describe some of the features of human-human conversation that are being implemented in this new genre of embodied conversational agents. Then I describe an embodied conversational agent that is based on these features. I argue that, because conversation is such a primary skill for humans, and such an early-learned skill (practiced, in fact, between infants and mothers who take turns cooing and burbling at one another), and because the body is so well-equipped to support conversation, embodied conversational agents may turn out to be powerful ways for humans to interact with their computers. However, I claim that in order for embodied conversational agents to live up to their promise, their implementations must be based on actual study of human human conversation, and their architectures must reflect some of the intrinsic properties found there[PDF]

'How about this weather?' - Social Dialogue with Embodied Conversational Agents." Proceedings of the AAAI Fall Symposium on Socially Intelligent Agents. North Falmouth, MA, 2000.

The Intelligent Room Project:
The Future Of Human-Computer Interaction or How I learned to stop worrying and love my Intelligent Room. IEEE Intelligent Systems. March/April 1999. (HTML version)

A link to an article on the intelligent room from Washington Post. Here's another one.

Design Principles for Intelligent Environments. (In Proceedings AAAI98)
Teaching Computers to Recognize and Express Emotion. From the book HAL's Legacy


Alan Blackwell's notes.

Virtual Reality and HCI

The  Six Elements of Qualitative Structure 
Talks about the different faces of Virtual Reality. It also compares human-computer interaction with the theatre, Brenda Laurel uses Aristotle's model of the six qualitative elements of structure as a basis for comparison between the two fields. These elements can be considered to form a layered model, with each layer being derived from the layer below it.


BIG list of HCI and related books. 

Searchable bibliography of HCI research literature


Interface Hall of Shame