Our first avatar

Dec. 20, 2016, 7:06 a.m.

The first avatar is ready and our user partners (Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Universität Tübingen, Sociedad Española de Medicina de Familia y Comunitaria) have now the chance to test the KRISTINA’s functionalities.

The intensive work of our technical partners on many innovative technologies is constantly in progress: KRISTINA is carrying out research in the areas of flexible dialogue models, expressive and emotive integrated communication analysis and synthesis. Moreover, new technologies will be applied to improve the naturalness and flexibility of a human-agent dialogue.

The first integrated system has been presented during the last plenary meeting in Tübingen (Germany): vocabulary and functionalities are limited but the third milestone of this project has been completed because all technical components have been integrated. Data management, Knowledge integration, Information Retrieval, Automatic Speech Recognition, Language Analysis and Generation contribute to the definition of the knowledge-based information agent with social competence and human interaction capabilities.

With the first prototype, KRISTINA becomes a  conversation partner, which can, within a carefully limited environment, understand spoken language in German, Spanish and Polish and it is capable of determining an appropriate response (e.g. answering specific questions, providing advice or reading some newspaper article) generating a natural language output voice for this response. 

The social challenge of this project has an increasing importance: different research areas are integrated to improve a real system able to overcome linguistic barriers for migrants looking for  primary care assistance in Europe. Within the European funded project KRISTINA, technical partners are constantly working in order to make this conversation more natural, improving the expressions and the ability to recognize and interpret emotions and human feelings. This first prototype is used to demonstrate the current state-of-the-art in natural conversation and it can be considered as a working basis on which enhancements will be build, each aimed at providing a more natural interaction. The agent will recognize emotions in the voice, face and body stance of the conversation partner.

During the plenary meeting, partners also discussed about the main achievements and future steps to be taken. The research is now focused on expressiveness, human-like gestures, emotional interaction, appropriate reasoning and quick reaction to any inputs received from the human side. This is a big challenge for all the people involved in the project and a great contribution for the European research that is more and more supporting the development of new technologies applicable to the primary care sector and that can help migrants to overtake linguistic barriers.

The evaluation of the first prototype will be a great opportunity to meet users’ expectations, to keep working on KRISTINA, to build a user centric system and to ensure health care all over Europe and to face future migration flows.

multilingual intelligent embodied agent social competence adaptive dialogue expressive speech recognition and synthesis discourse generation vocal facial and gestural social and emotional cues