Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Eva Virtual Creature Meets the Real World

This is an image of the second EVA installation we have made for the exhibition. This installation is based on the Evolutionary Virtual Agent technology for its Artificial Intelligence part. It basically enables the creature to interact with the user in natural language. In the near future, Eva will be also able to learn about the user and to search information on the web.

The 3D interface was designed by a team of students (see previous posts on thatsubject). Animations like eyes blinks or emotional expressions are realized by simply switching images. A java Applet is responsible for displaying in real-time the face. The talking head is then projected on a physical form, that is a 3D sculpture representing thetop of the body and the face. This 3D model has been simplified and virtually tested to enable most facial animations without image distortion (see image on the right). It is interesting to note that the resulting model may recall some sort of paleolithic venus figurines or ancient egyptian scluptures. Anayway, the resulting effect is amazing. The projection on a physical model gives "life" to the artificial creature. Eva becomes real.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

EVA Holographic Ghost

It has been a long time since my last post. We have worked a lot on a multimedia exhibition which takes place at the Leonard de Vinci University until the end of March ( In the next few posts, I will describe some of the installations we have designed with our students. The first one is an holographic artificial creature based on the EVA design (Evolutionary Virtual Agent). Imagine some sort of woman ghost floating in the air just in front of you. She is dancing slowly in the air. This installation uses a simple but efficient system composed of turning cords and holographic paper. The result is amazing as you can see on the image considering the simplicity of this installation.

This installation has been designed by the french artist Cyril Vachez ( This system recalls a number of simple optical devices that were invented in the nineteenth century like the ZooTrope created by William Horner in 1833. The lower picture has been taken at high speed to be able to see the principle of this system. It is mainly composed of two parts. The first part includes a set of holographic cords, an electric engine with a speed variator, and a roller skate wheel fixed on the ceiling. The second part includes a PC computer running the artificial creature movie or program, and a video projector. This "holographic ghost" is used to introduce EVA to the visitor, just before entering the second room where he is able to interact with her. I will describe this other installation in the next post.