THE NEXT LEVEL EMOTICON
Researchers at Cambridge University have unveiled what they are calling the “new text message”- a virtual talking head that can take emoticons to a new level. The head, currently played by actress Zoe Lister, has the ability to express a wide range of emotion from happiness to sadness and so forth as well as change the tone of its voice to communicate the proper emotion.
The researchers at Toshiba’s Cambridge Lab are hoping that eventually the talking head can be personalized to each individual user- allowing for a seemingly live conversation between two friends. While the process to formulate a fully functional Zoe was complicated, the technology to extrapolate the face messaging framework onto mobile users may be coming more quickly than expected.
"This technology could be the start of a whole new generation of interfaces which make interacting with a computer much more like talking to another human being. It took us days to create Zoe, because we had to start from scratch and teach the system to understand language and expression. Now that it already understands those things, it shouldn’t be too hard to transfer the same blueprint to a different voice and face."
– Professor Roberto Cipolla, from the University of Cambridge