Personal assistants such as Siri have changed the way people interact with computers by introducing virtual assistants that collaborate with humans through natural speech-based interfaces. However, relying on speech alone as the medium of communication can be a limitation; non-verbal aspects of communication also play a vital role in natural human discourse. Thus, it is necessary to identify the use of gesture and other non-verbal aspects in order to apply them towards the development of computer systems. The goal of this project is to understand how systems can model non-verbal communication as a means to mimic human-human communication.
Currently, I am working on the development of an interactive virtual agent, called Diana, that responds and communicates through non-verbal gestures.