[ISEA2017] Workshop: Stefano Faralli, Brianna Ondris & Semi Ryu — Avatar life-review to support memory in older adults

Workshop Statement

This workshop will introduce an innovative therapy platform designed for older adults, with interactive avatars reflecting users’ speech, gestures, and emotional states in real time. This transdisciplinary project integrates electronic arts, gaming, computer science, gerontology, storytelling, and therapy rooted in Korean shamanistic practice.\

This system was designed to strive to enhance seniors’ quality of life, fostering communication among peers, caregivers, and family members, promoting intergenerational relationships by eliciting memories invested with emotion and buoyed by engaging play. Seniors act out reminiscences at various ages (child, teenager, adult, elder), embodying their life stories and those of significant others through configurable avatars. Avatars’ affective gestures and sound reflect results of sentiment analysis algorithms detecting the emotional contents of the user’s live speech.

This workshop will examine diverse aspects of the project: conceptual foundations, multimedia production, research findings based on formative testing with the senior target population, and avatar life-review system opening to public.

  • Stefano Faralli, University of Rome, Italy. My research interests are across three areas: Data and Web Science (DWS), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Human Computer Interaction (HCI).  unitelmasapienza.it/it/contenuti/personale/stefano-faralli
  • Brianna Ondris is  a student studying Kinetic Imaging at VCUarts (Virginia Commonwealth University, USA),  Animation/Sound/Video to create work that illustrates a new perspective to the overlooked.  vimeo.com/user34605452
  • Semi Ryu, Associate Professor, Kinetic Imaging, VCUarts (Virginia Commonwealth University), Richmond, VA, USA, specializes in 3D animation and virtual puppetry based on Korean ritual and oral storytelling. Her artworks and papers have been internationally presented in screenings, exhibitions, performances, and publications in 20 countries, including the Chelsea Art Museum, and the book The Point of Being (Cambridge Scholars, UK). Since 2014, she has been working on the project “VoicingElder: Avatar Life-Review for Older Adults” to support memory and intergenerational relationships of older adults. Her next project is “VoicingHan: Avatar Life-Review Empowering Selves”, to support the creation of personalized narratives for individuals with trauma-related memories. Semi is an associate professor in the Department of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University. A South Korean native, she earned a BFA from the Korean National University of Arts, and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.  semiryu.net