Posted by: crudbasher | February 7, 2012

Will Your Virtual Teacher Look Like This?

Before I became interested in how education and technology will work together, I taught a class on video game graphics. While the graphics are getting better all the time, generating realistic people has been a big challenge. Well, I just saw this video that sets a new standard in rendering people in video games. (h/t kotaku.com)

Imagine a virtual teacher that looked this high quality. I am certain that young students will make connections with them in a way we older folks can’t understand. There is however, a big problem still to be solved. Did you notice in the video that the figure did not do anything? Creating believable human movements is even harder than making them look realistic. For our whole lives we have been watching how people move and our brain picks up on hundreds of tiny sub-motions. If any of those are wrong, we might not be consciously  aware of it, but we will feel uneasy. This uneasiness is called the Uncanny Valley.

Here’s a clip about it.

This rendering technology will rapidly be adopted I am sure. Could this help create emotional attachments with our technology? One of the biggest arguments against having computers replace teachers is the “human factor”. This technology might start to erode that edge.

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