An Architecture for Embodied Conversational Characters

J. Cassell, T. Bickmore, M. Billinghurst, L. Campbell, K. Chang, H. Vilhjálmsson, H. Yan
Gesture and Narrative Language Group
MIT Media Laboratory
20 Ames St, Cambridge, Massachusetts
+1 617 253 4899
{justine, bickmore, markb, elwin, tetrion, hannes, yanhao}

In this paper we describe the computational and architectural requirements for systems which support real-time multimodal interaction with an embodied conversational character. We argue that the three primary design drivers are real-time multithreaded entrainment, processing of both interactional and propositional information, and an approach based on a functional understanding of human face-to-face conversation. We then present an architecture which meets these requirements and an initial conversational character that we have developed who is capable of increasingly sophisticated multimodal input and output in a limited application domain.