The SEMAINE API: A Component Integration Framework for a Naturally Interacting and Emotionally Competent Embodied Conversational Agent
M. Schröder. Fachrichtung Informatik, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Dissertation, (January 2011)
The present thesis addresses the topic area of Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs) with capabilities for natural interaction with a human user and emotional competence with respect to the perception and generation of emotional expressivity. The focus is on the technological underpinnings that facilitate the implementation of a real-time system with these capabilities, built from re-usable components. The thesis comprises three main contributions. First, it describes a new component integration framework, the SEMAINE API, which makes it easy to build emotion-oriented systems from components which interact with one another using standard and pre-standard XML representations. Second, it presents a prepare-and-trigger system architecture which substantially speeds up the time to animation for system utterances that can be pre-planned. Third, it reports on the W3C Emotion Markup Language, an upcoming web standard for representing emotions in technological systems. We assess critical aspects of system performance, showing that the framework provides a good basis for implementing real-time interactive ECA systems, and illustrate by means of three examples that the SEMAINE API makes it is easy to build new emotion-oriented systems from new and existing components.