Virtual Human Toolkit

2009 - Present
Project Leader: Arno Hartholt

ICT has created the Virtual Human Toolkit with the goal of reducing some of the complexity inherent in creating virtual humans. Our Toolkit is an ever-growing collection of innovative technologies, fueled by basic research performed at ICT and its partners.

The Toolkit provides a solid technical foundation and modularity that allows a relatively easy way of mixing and matching Toolkit technology with a research project’s proprietary or 3rd-party software. Through this Toolkit, ICT aims to provide the virtual humans research community with a widely accepted platform on which new technologies can be built.

What Is It
The ICT Virtual Human Toolkit is a collection of modules, tools and libraries that supports the creation of virtual human conversational characters. At the core of the Toolkit lies innovative, research-driven technologies which are combined with other software components in order to provide a complete embodied conversational agent. Since all ICT virtual human software is built on top of a common framework, as part of a modular architecture, researchers using the Toolkit can do any of the following:

  • Utilize all components or a subset thereof
  • Utilize certain components while replacing others with non-Toolkit components
  • Utilize certain components in other existing systems

The technology emphasizes natural language interaction, nonverbal behavior and visual recognition. The main modules are:

  • Non Player Character Editor (NPCEditor), a package for creating dialogue responses to inputs for one or more characters. It contains a text classifier based on cross-language relevance models that selects a character’s response based on the user’s text input, as well as an authoring interface to input and relate questions and answers, and a simple dialogue manager to control aspects of output behavior.
  • Nonverbal Behavior Generator (NVBG), a rule-based behavior planner that generates behaviors by inferring communicative functions from a surface text and selects behaviors to augment and complement the expression of those functions.
  • SmartBody is a character animation platform that provides locomotion, steering, object manipulation, lip syncing, gazing and nonverbal behavior in real time using the Behavior Markup Language (BML).
  • MultiSense, a perception framework that enables multiple sensing and understanding modules to inter-operate simultaneously, broadcasting data through the Perception Markup Language (PML). Its main use within the Toolkit is head and facial tracking through a webcam.

The target platform for the overall toolkit is Microsoft Windows, although some components are multi-platform.

Learn more on the Virtual Human Toolkit website.

Download a PDF overview.