Jacki Morie: “Body Buddies: Social Signaling through Puppeteering

July 12, 2011 | Orlando, FL

Speaker: Jacki Morie
Host: HCI 2011

While virtual worlds have evolved to provide a good medium for social communication, they are very primitive in their social and affective communication design. The social communication methods within these worlds have progressed from early text-based social worlds, e.g. MUDS (multi-user dungeons) to 3D graphical interfaces with avatar control, such as Second Life. Current communication methods include triggering gestures by typed commands, and/or selecting a gesture by name through the user interface. There are no agreed-upon standards for organizing such gestures or interfaces. In this paper, we address this problem by discussing a Unity-based avatar pupeteering prototype we developed called Body Buddies. Body Buddies sits on top of the communication program Skype, and provides additional modalities for social signaling through avatar pupeteering. Additionally, we discuss results from an exploratory study we conducted to investigate how people use the interface. We also outline steps to continuously develop and evolve Body Buddies.