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A 3D avatar to replace the use of emoticons in online chat.(42 pages: chapter 1-6)

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Summary
Human to human communication over the internet has exploded in popularity. However it could be said that it is a cold medium, with a lack of real “human” interaction. This project aims to find a solution to this by introducing a 3D avatar, which is used to display human emotion. It is intended to be a low-bandwidth solution that is also simple to use. It should be extendable in that users should be able to define their own facial expression, and the user they are conversing with should be able to view that emotion without necessarily having it stored on their workstation. In order to achieve this A muscular model is used, which allows the compression of a facial expression to a set number of parameters. These parameters can then be sent via IP, where it can be easily viewed. The completed avatar is then successfully tested with several subjects in order to discover whether or not it has been successful.

  1. The Problem
    a) Human to human communication over the Internet One of the most important human skills we have is communication. People all over the world are communicating all the time, and those methods in which they communicate are wide and varied. Speech is considered to have evolved millions of years ago. In fact it is one of the criteria for deciding whether or not ancient ancestors were indeed human or primal. Writing also evolved, both phonetic and pictorial, with the Babylonians and the Egyptians being early examples. Gutenberg and other people conceived moveable type and printing simultaneously in the Mid-15th century throughout Europe, which contributed to even faster and more accurate sharing of ideas. There was then the advent of radio, the telephone and television, all increasing the breadth of human communication. More recently other forms of communication have become widespread. Utilizing the huge growth of the Internet services such as the BBS and newsgroup service, e-mail and IRC have become widespread. E-mail has all but replaced the previous use of memos in the business world, and has also replaced much of the traditional mail.

  2. Personally to me one of the most fascinating areas of human communication of the modern age (and the one upon which this project will focus) is the use of IRC , (Internet Relay Chat). The first IRC client program was written by Jarkko “WiZ” Oikarinen, and was released in August of 1988. Since then it has exploded, with literally countless people using IRC at any one time over the Internet. The simplicity of the chat is endearing, and the “wow” factor of communicating to people from all parts of the globe is irresistible. For an example of one of the most popular IRC client programs [9], which is available for all platforms.
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