Cyborg Panel       Complete talk       IAAA         ArtiFacial Expression

  Abstract of a lecture presented by Huge Harry during the Cyborg Panel at the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C. It was published in the Abstracts of the American Anthropological Association, 94th Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C., November 15-19, 1995, p. 139.

Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha

Institute of Artificial Art, Department of ArtiFacial Expression

Towards a Digital Computer with a Human Face

This talk reports on an ongoing R&D project that is concerned with new applications of the human interface hardware. The project is carried out by a team involving Apple Macintosh computers, human persons, custom-built digital-to-analog conversion hardware, video cameras, recorders, video-projectors and a DECtalk speech synthesis system.

In a preliminary stage of this project, we have studied how humans signal the momentary state of their operating system by means of contractions of their facial muscles. We found that these signals function in an extremely effective way in the communication between humans. We therefore initiated a series of experiments to investigate the feasibility of using the human face as a display device for a digital computer.

Our presentation demonstrates the most important results of these experiments. It shows how a human face may be hooked up to a computer, so that most of the expressive features of the face can be digitally controlled. It turns out that when the human face is plugged into such a hardware configuration, the range of its muscle contraction patterns is much larger than when the face is employed in its standard mode of operation. Our research thus also suggests techniques for generating new facial expressions, that may be applied in computer-controlled choreography and theatre.