News


Instant digital faces set for cellphones too

25 September 2002 News

In the future, avatars will help guide surfers around the Internet. These digital companions can provide vital assistance for Web shoppers and add a human touch to interactive services on the display of UMTS cellphones. While avatars exist only on computers, they bear a striking resemblance to humans thanks to highly advanced technology.

The MPEG 4 standard makes it possible to transmit multimedia data such as video and audio recordings, photos or even three-dimensional images very efficiently through existing communications networks, thus also paving the way for the widespread use of avatars.

In the past, these artificial beings were usually part of nonstandardised computer programs that needed the same software for inter-computer communication. Researchers at Siemens in Munich have now used the standard MPEG 4 data format to create a range of avatars. The scientists scanned the faces of test persons with laser beams and created three-dimensional heads on the computer. These scans were then translated into digital wire-frame models consisting of many tiny triangles covered with virtual skin.

To recreate facial expressions such as joy, anger, surprise or sadness, some of the triangles at specific grid points are distorted. These expressions and gestures are then linked with speech patterns. To do so, the computer transforms written syllables into sounds and adds the appropriate lip movements. While repeating pre-programmed sentences or imitating facial expressions, the computer heads can be moved in all directions using the mouse.

To demonstrate their talents, the researchers presented a female avatar on an internal website. At a click of the mouse, the digital woman reads descriptions of cellphones and fixed line telephones. Avatars could also be used as assistants for filling out Web forms, telling the user what information must be entered in specific fields.

Scientists are currently trying to use their animation technique directly on digital portraits. This would allow for the rapid introduction of such avatars in cellphones. Three-dimensional faces require too much computing capacity and therefore consume too much valuable battery power.

The new technique would, however, ensure that avatars could be fully operated on today's GSM cellphones, as 84 grid points are sufficient for creating the necessary movements and require a data rate of only 4 Kbps is needed.

For more information contact Kayindira Moodley, Siemens Southern Africa, 011 652 2000.





Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Plan your media strategy with Technews Publishing
23 October 2019, Technews Publishing , News
Dear Marketer, Have you ever looked back on a year and wondered how you survived it? For the majority of South Africans, 2019 started benignly enough, cosily wrapped in the blanket of Ramaphoria that ...

Read more...
From the editor’s desk: Getting charged up for the new year
25 November 2019, Technews Publishing , News
The Springboks’ Rugby World Cup triumph in Japan couldn’t have come at a better time for South Africa, as the country was in desperate need of a jolt of positive energy going into the festive season. ...

Read more...
Battery Technologies Conference 2019
25 November 2019 , News, Editor's Choice
Batteries are a critical enabler of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, powering technology in products from laptops and handheld devices to electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.

Read more...
Boom, doom and gloom, or something completely different?
25 November 2019, Technews Publishing , News, Editor's Choice
As the end of 2019 looms, it’s time to look ahead to what next year might have in store, and reflect on the year gone by. And what a year it’s been.

Read more...
Actum Group remains resilient and optimistic for 2020
25 November 2019, Actum Electronics , News
Running a profitable business in South Africa is not for the fainthearted. With the national treasury downgrading this year’s growth forecast from 1,5% to 0,5%, and state-owned entities like Eskom negotiating ...

Read more...
Additional renewable energy development zones proposed
25 November 2019 , News
The second phase of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) energy in South Africa proposes three additional Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs) for wind ...

Read more...
Locally developed electronic circuit builder for students
25 November 2019, K Measure , News, Editor's Choice
K Measure, creator of the award-winning Seebox engineering education solution, has created a new innovation to enable quick and easy electronic circuit-building. The SeeBlocks electronic circuit creator ...

Read more...
Clearing the Static:Topic 9: Time to audit your ESD environment
25 November 2019, Actum Electronics , News
Now that we are nearing the end of the year, it is a good time to audit your existing static control products and procedures. The first line of defence should be your antistatic floor, since this is the ...

Read more...
Winning hackathon entry curbs cell tower battery theft
25 November 2019 , News
The fourth annual TADHackJHB was held at MTN’s head office in Fairland, Johannesburg, on 12 and 13 October, with a cell tower protection app emerging as the winner. The theme for the 2019 global TADHack ...

Read more...
Products of the Year 2019
25 November 2019 , News
SmartServer IoT by Adesto    BAW-based chips for comms infrastructure    Cellular modules for LPWA applications    SoCs and software for smart home and IIoT    Secure element for IoT authentication    MPU for embedded ...

Read more...