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Applications such as telepresence and training involve the display of real or synthetic humans to multiple viewers. When attempting to render the humans with conventional displays, non-verbal cues such as head pose, gaze direction, body posture, and facial expression are difficult to convey correctly to all viewers. In addition, a framed image of a human conveys only a limited physical sense of presence - primarily through the display's location. While progress continues on articulated robots that mimic humans, the focus has been on the motion and behavior of the robots. We introduce a new approach for robotic avatars of real people: the use of cameras and projectors to capture and map the dynamic motion and appearance of a real person onto a humanoid animatronic model. We call these devices Animatronic Shader Lamps Avatars (SLA).We present a proof-of-concept prototype comprised of a camera, a tracking system, a digital projector, and a life-sized styrofoam head mounted on a pan-tilt unit. The system captures imagery of a moving, talking user and maps the appearance and motion onto the animatronic SLA, delivering a dynamic, real-time representation of the user to multiple viewers.
Date of Conference: 19-22 Oct. 2009