One approach that Gaia uses to engage a user is Talking Heads. This is a system whereby information is communicated through a 3D character model that is fully controlled, remotely by a human being.
The controller has the ability to call upon a variety of facial expressions, voices and movement and has, through embedded cameras and microphones, the ability to react to learner queries in real time. This makes the Talking Heads environment a believable learning space whereby outcomes are visually reinforced and consequently retained for substantially longer than other lesson formats.
As an example: Gaia artists created highly accurate 3D models of King Henry VIII and his six wives which were subsequently rigged and animated to create various expressions and responses. In a school-based project, students and teachers were able to prepare speeches for each character, by researching historical content, creating storyboards and writing scripts, which were later applied to the talking heads. Voice manipulation techniques, along with the animated models were embedded into our Talking Heads system and are now accessible from various classrooms within the school.
The above approach has proved successful for information communication and long-term retention as well as learner involvement and we feel surpasses many other teaching techniques.
For the Dubai police, an avatar was produced to manage safeguarding and facilitate interviewing vulnerable children who had been involved in crimes. The police were able to manage all the interactions and complete, evidence worthy notes can be produced. So successful is this system that other police forces are reviewing the system.
In the commercial environment, some potential uses for Talking Heads are: being used to demonstrate a product, promoting a marketing message, improving interaction with your consumers or training your staff in customer support.
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