Virtual Assistant Avatar Delivers Messages With Human Emotions [Video]

Virtual Assistant Avatar Delivers Messages With Human Emotions [Video]

'Zoe' is a digital talking head created by the Cambridge Research Lab and the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering.

Emma Hutchings
  • 20 march 2013

Researchers at Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Lab and the University of Cambridge‘s Department of Engineering have collaborated to develop a digital avatar that can express a full range of human emotions. ‘Zoe’ is a virtual “talking head,” which could be used as a digital personal assistant or for “face messaging.”

The lifelike face can appear happy, sad, angry, tender, afraid, neutral or a combination of these emotions. Users can type in a message and indicate what emotions it should have, and it will recite the text.

The face is that of Zoe Lister, a TV actress, who helped train the speech model. The researchers spent several days recording her speech and facial expressions in order to recreate her face and voice.

Virtual Assistant Avatar Delivers Messages With Human Emotions [Video]

They collected a dataset of thousands of sentences and tracked her face while she was speaking using computer vision software. In the future the system, which is light enough to work in mobile technology, could enable people to upload their own faces and voices to personalize their own emotionally realistic digital assistants.

The researchers are currently working with a school for autistic and deaf children, where the technology could be used to help them understand emotions and lip-read. It could also have uses in gaming, audio-visual books, online lectures, and other user interfaces. You can meet Zoe in the video below:

University of Cambridge


DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Design & Architecture
Culture Yesterday

Messaging Add-On Helps You Correct Your Friends’ Bad Grammar

An iMessage sticker pack will help you copyedit text messages

Automotive Yesterday

Mercedes-Benz Introduces A New Electric Mobility Brand

The separate entity aims to simplify the identification of Mercedes EV products to customers


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Mobile Yesterday

Tinder’s New Feature Makes Swiping A Group Effort

The dating app wants to democratize its gestural interaction by buying in to the social polling trend pervasive among millennials

Related Expert

Tristan Pollock

Temporary Retail Expert

Syndicated Yesterday

Autonomous Garbage Drone Prevents Trash From Reaching Deep Ocean

The solar-powered WasteShark collects refuse closer to the source: the harbor

Automotive Yesterday

Aston Martin Reveals Its Own Luxury Powerboat

The sleek AM37 echoes styling elements from the British brand's sports cars

Advertising Yesterday

An Escort Website Fights Violence Against Sex Workers

The advocacy campaign from McCann aims uncover the human toll of the exploitative industry


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 27, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs september 29, 2016

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Culture Yesterday

LIFE Magazine Relaunches In Pure VR

The general interest periodical, which ceased publication in 2000, has turned into a portal for virtual reality content

Mobile Yesterday

Reorder This Detox Drink With A Simple Text Message

Dirty Lemon is streamlining its communication by letting customers place orders, ask product questions and request help exclusively through chat

Op-Ed Yesterday

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Retail Yesterday

Gilt’s Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You’ll Want To Live In

The New York City townhouse plays host to the latest in retail inspiration, curation, and lifestyle activation (and some libations, too)


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Mobile Yesterday

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Africa Yesterday

Virtual Reality Game Gives Lessons About Emergency Birth Care

LIFE is a serious tool that takes advantage of new technology to help save lives

Luxury Yesterday

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

No search results found.