ICT to Create Virtual Human Guides with Museum of Science, Boston

Published: September 22, 2008
Category: News

The collaboration receives $2 million NSF grant to build life-like computer characters showcasing museum exhibits and the technologies enabling these digital docents to think, feel and interact.  Visitors to the Museum of Science, Boston will soon receive personalized attention from guides who can ask and answer questions, direct them to specific areas, and assist them in understanding particular exhibits and how to use them.
These engaging educators won’t be real people but virtual ones – programmed by the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies with such advanced artificial intelligence, natural language and computer animation systems that learning how they work will become an interactive exhibit unto itself.
Funded by a three-year $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the project includes the creation of life-sized computer generated characters who not only look human but have the ability to express knowledge, thoughts, feelings and even memories. Patrons may eventually be able to build relationships with these virtual humans, who will learn their names and remember their interests from previous museum visits.
Read the USC News story.