a collaborative storylistening system for children
a 3-D animated virtual child who can pass physical toys
back and forth to real children, and construct stories
with them collaboratively.
Bringing together our work in story-listening systems
for children and in embodied conversational agents,
we are developing a conversational character, Sam, who
can act as a peer playmate to children and can create
stories with them by sharing physical objects across
the real and virtual worlds, and by listening and understanding
the child's input.
and child share a play space and a set of story-evoking
toys that can magically exist in both participants' worlds.
Sam listens to what the child says and co-authors coherent
stories with them. The background of Sam is the real-time
video of the child's environment, so that Sam actually
exists in the child's play space.
Recent developments include improving Sam's interactivity
using speech recognition and natural language processing,
improved models of turn-taking during fantasy play among
children, an updated graphics engine, and optimized
to run on one computer. Recent testing of the system
shows the extent to which this toy engages children
in creative and collaborative full-body play.