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The Interactive CrossTalk Installation: Meta-Theater with Animated Presentation Agents

Stephan Baldes; Patrick Gebhard; Michael Kipp; Martin Klesen; Peter Rist; Thomas Rist; Markus Schmitt
In: Proceedings of the International Workshop on Lifelike Animated Agents. Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (PRICAI-02), August 19, Tokyo, Japan, 2002.


This paper introduces CrossTalk, an interactive installation with animated presentation agents. CrossTalk is an attempt to spatially extend the interaction experience beyond the usual single front screen. It offers two separated agent spaces (screens), where the agents "live", which form a triangle with the user's control panel. In this setting, we explore the meta-theatre metaphor for a new variant of information presentation in public spaces, such as a booth at a trade fair or a product information kiosk in a department store. The meta-theater metaphor lets agents live beyond the actual presentation: "outside" the presentation, agents are professional actors. This enriches the interactive experience with unexpected out-of-role intermezzi and off-duty dialogs, including rehearsals. The name CrossTalk expresses the variety of human-agent and agent-agent interactions that emerge and work together to attract and bind the user's attention. Technically, we rely on a fine-grained interweaving of automatically generated sales dialogs and manually scripted scenes of off-duty conversations. CrossTalk has be exposed during a one-week demo at the CeBIT convention 2002 to the general public, where we are able to gather some feedback on the installation from visitors.