Keynote Speakers

Prof. Kenny Mitchell 

Title: Delivering Interactive Emotional Avatars with Everyone

Abstract: Exploring the evolution of delivering interactive emotional avatars in visual media production industries, through movies and games and beyond, this talk records one experience of how fidelity has improved to create emotionally responsive avatars that can mimic human-like behavior and interact with users in more engaging and immersive ways, including bringing emotional avatars to life with physical objects in augmented reality and dancing online together. Emphasizing that delivering meaningful interactive emotional avatars is only achievable with the collaboration of everyone across many teams and contributors. Professor Mitchell offers a vision of how this path may change the central way we interact with machines and information.

Short bio: Prof. Kenny Mitchell is the Technical Director of Rendering at Roblox, and a Professor of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. Dr. Mitchell has been involved in various video games, movies, and consumer products, including “Star Wars: Rogue One”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, or “Finding Dory”; and has over 40 patents in computer graphics and motion capture. Prof. Mitchell is an ACM SIGGRAPH Pioneer, an IEEE Senior Member, and a member of BAFTA; and is currently the co-Editor-in-Chief for ACM Games: Research and Practice, the Associate Editor for ACM Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques and Elsevier Computers and Graphics, and is on the Steering Board for InGAME: Innovation for Games.

Associate Professor Anne-Hélène Olivier

Title: Social agents and non-verbal interactions: when Movement Science meets Virtual Reality

Abstract: Non-verbal communication is an important channel for social interactions between humans, that is used to convey information to others, or to perceive information from them through, for instance, body motion, posture, proximity, or gaze cues. This is typically the case when pedestrians navigate public spaces: they have to perceive the relative movements of their neighbors and to interpret their intentions in order to safely reach a goal while avoiding any collisions with them. Modeling such a situation is complex since human social interactions are multifactorial by nature and include social norms, situational and individual factors. In this context, studying nonverbal communication has not only fundamental applications to the understanding of social interactions, but also to the design and the simulation of populated environments where a user is interacting with virtual social agents. In this talk, I will discuss the close links between the communities of Movement Science and of Virtual Reality that feed one another with models and innovative methodological approaches. In particular, I will first present some research work from Movement Science perspective highlighting behavioral invariants during non-verbal interactions between pedestrians. Then, I will discuss the validity and the values of virtual reality to design controlled situations to go further in the understanding of such non-verbal interactions. I will conclude my talk by discussing perspectives for collaborative research.

Short bio: Anne-Hélène Olivier is an associate professor and a co-director of the master program in adapted physical activity at the University of Rennes 2, in France. She is a researcher scientist at the Movement Sports and Health (M2S) laboratory and in the VirtUs team at Inria. She received her PhD in Sports Sciences (Biomechanics) in 2008 (Univ. Rennes) where her project focuses on the analysis and modeling of human walking and of interactions between pedestrians. During her post-doc fellowship at Inria, she was interested in the interactions between real and virtual walkers, and especially the evaluation of VR to study such interactions. Her current research interests concern both the understanding of non-verbal interactions between people, but also the use of the knowledge about human behavior to improve the design of navigation techniques and populated virtual environments. To this end, she uses an experimental approach both in real and virtual conditions and develops collaborative work within a multidisciplinary research team. She has served as a conference scientific papers chair for the international conferences IEEE VR 2019 (conf. track), EuroVR 2020, ISMAR 2021 (conf. track) and SAP 2021 and will serve this year ISMAR 2023 (conf. track).