.: Mirage: Conversational Embodied Agent :.

Project Description:

Mirage is an embodied virtual agent that serves as a simple virtual guide to the lab. Mirage is capable of engaging the user in a simple conversation, maintaining eye contact, informing the user about objects in the lab as well as giving the user a simple news summary (curtesy of NewsBlaster). This system is built using the "constructionist methodology" to showcase that it is possible to create a relatively complex embodied agent system with an inexperienced team of 5 students in just 3 months.



Image showing our embodied agent pointing at the "spaceframe" structure, giving information about the object and maintaining the eye contact with the user.

This image has been enhanced for clarity. The see-through HMD that we used is much darker in real life, however this image portrays pretty accurately what the user would be seeing when interacting with Mirage.

Mirage System architecture showing different modules and their interaction. The modules shown in are proxy modules facilitating message communication with the Psyclone blackboard system.


Thorisson, K., Benko, H., Abramov, D., Arnold, A., Maskey, S., Vaseekaran, A., "Constructionist Design Methodology for Interactive Intelligences", To appear in AI Magazine. Summer 2004. [copyright]


Full quicktime movie (64MB).


We would like to thank Steven Feiner for access to equipment in Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab, Kathy McKeown and the Natural Language Processing Group for access to NewsBlaster, and mindmakers.org for access to Pysclone Blackboard system