Contract type : Public service fixed-term contract
Level of qualifications required : PhD or equivalent
Fonction : Post-Doctoral Research Visit
About the research centre or Inria department
This postdoc position will involve a collaboration between 3 Inria teams, namely Potioc (Bordeaux), MimeTIC (Rennes) and Hybrid (Rennes). The prefered location for the position will be in the Potioc team in Bordeaux, with regular meetings and visits in the teams located in Rennes. However, it is not a fixed rule and the work could also be conducted in Rennes in case of outstanding applications. More specifically, the position is framed in the context of the national 4-year Inria Project Lab - IPL AVATAR which aims at delivering the next generation of virtual selves, or “avatars”, in digital worlds. In particular, the IPL AVATAR wants to push further the limits of perception and interaction through our avatars to obtain avatars that are better embodied and more interactive. Such objectives will notably be attained by designing novel paradigms for interacting with and representing avatars.
Avatars are virtual anthropomorphic characters whose goals are to represent humans in virtual worlds. Such avatars are frequently used in personal applications such as video games, or collaborative scenarios [Pan and Steed 2017, Piumsomboon et al. 2018]. They allow their users to be virtually present in a personal or shared 3D synthetic world.
Due to the massive dissemination of consumer-grade Head-Mounted Displays, avatars have become a major requirement in immersive applications, leading to major improvements in their visual quality. On one hand, it is now possible to personalize the avatar representation to the user, which impacts immersion [Waltemate et al. 2018], as well as to display onto these avatars accurate motions of users through the use of lightweight motion capture systems, and even to display believable facial expressions. On the other hand, avatars still lack from some of the more subtle information regarding the users’ psycho-physiological state, and therefore do not generally accurately inform us about their current real state. For example, an avatar may appear as peaceful whereas its user is very stressed or anxious, or appear rested after a strenuous effort while its user might be breathless. Therefore, new techniques are today necessary to enable avatars to more accurately represent the physiological state of its user.
The objective of this postdoc is to explore approaches that will better reflect the current state of users by adapting their avatar’s visual appearance to their own physiological signals. In this project, we will thus first concentrate on the realtime recording and processing of physiological signals. These signals may include, but are not limited to, breathing, heart rate, galvanic skin response, facial muscle activity (electromyography) or ocular information (eye movements, blinks, pupillometry). While adapting the behaviour of non-player characters to the users’ physiological signals can influence their performance, e.g., for sports training in VR [Argelaguet et al. 2015], it is still unclear which signals are relevant to display on one’s avatar, and how to display them.
After concentrating on the real-time recording and processing, the second part of this postdoc will explore how to coherently map these modalities to the visual appearance of the avatar. This can be done by mimicking realistic behaviours (e.g. breathing [Bernadette et al. 2019]), or by proposing visual metaphors (e.g. cardiac coherence mapped to a colored animation surrounding the avatar). However, as these signals might have different levels of influence on the user’s experience, a large part of the work will consist in assessing the influence of such physio-synchronised avatars. In particular, we will evaluate this impact on two principal dimensions, namely their influence on the sense of embodiment in virtual worlds (i.e., the degree to which users consider the avatar to be their representation in the virtual world), and their influence on the collaboration between remote users (e.g., perception of the other person’s physical or emotional state). These evaluations will be achieved by conducting controlled user studies.
The candidate should be comfortable with as much following items as possible:
- Graphics programming and tools such as Unity3D
- VR setups (e.g. HMD)
- Character animation
- Physiological sensors recording and processing
- Evaluation methods
- Controlled users studies
- Immersion, presence, embodiment
- Subsidized meals
- Partial reimbursement of public transport costs
- Possibility of teleworking (after 6 months of employment) and flexible organization of working hours
- Professional equipment available (videoconferencing, loan of computer equipment, etc.)
- Social, cultural and sports events and activities
- Access to vocational training
- Social security coverage
2653€ / month (before taxs)
- Theme/Domain : Interaction and visualization
- Town/city : Talence
- Inria Center : CRI Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest
- Starting date : 2020-04-01
- Duration of contract : 1 year, 8 months
- Deadline to apply : 2020-04-30
The keys to success
[Argelaguet et al. 2015] Argelaguet F., Multon F. & Lécuyer A. A methodology for introducing competitive anxiety and pressure in VR sports training. Front. Robot. AI 2:10, 2015. https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2015.00010
[Bernadette et al. 2019] Bernadette, U., Kang, S., Feng, A., DiPaola, S. & Shapiro, A. Speech Breathing in Virtual Humans: An Interactive Model and Empirical Study. Proceedings of the The Fourth IEEE VR Workshop on Virtual Humans and Crowds in Immersive Environments, March 2019, Osaka, Japan, 2019.
[Bernal and Maes 2017] Bernal, G., & Maes, P.. Emotional beasts: visually expressing emotions through avatars in VR. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3027063.3053207
[Groenegress et al. 2010] Groenegress, C., Spanlang, B., & Slater, M. The physiological mirror—a system for unconscious control of a virtual environment through physiological activity. The Visual Computer, 26(6-8), 649-657, 2010.
[Pan and Steed 2017] Pan, Y., & Steed, A. The impact of self-avatars on trust and collaboration in shared virtual environments. PloS one, 12(12), e0189078, 2017.
[Piumsomboon et al. 2018] Piumsomboon, T., Lee, G. A., Hart, J. D., Ens, B., Lindeman, R. W., Thomas, B. H., & Billinghurst, M. Mini-me: An adaptive avatar for mixed reality remote collaboration. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems (p. 46). https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173620
[Nasoz and Lisetti 2006] Nasoz, F. & Lisetti, C. L. MAUI avatars: Mirroring the user's sensed emotions via expressive multi-ethnic facial avatars. Journal of Visual Languages & Computing, 17, 5, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvlc.2006.05.001.
[Tsoli et al. 2014] Aggeliki Tsoli, Naureen Mahmood, and Michael J. Black. 2014. Breathing life into shape: capturing, modeling and animating 3D human breathing. ACM Trans. Graph. 33, 4, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1145/2601097.2601225
[Waltemate et al. 2018] Waltemate, T., Gall, D., Roth, D., Botsch, M., & Latoschik, M. E. The impact of avatar personalization and immersion on virtual body ownership, presence, and emotional response. IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics, 24(4), 1643-1652, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1109/TVCG.2018.2794629
Inria, the French national research institute for the digital sciences, promotes scientific excellence and technology transfer to maximise its impact. It employs 2,400 people. Its 200 agile project teams, generally with academic partners, involve more than 3,000 scientists in meeting the challenges of computer science and mathematics, often at the interface of other disciplines. Inria works with many companies and has assisted in the creation of over 160 startups. It strives to meet the challenges of the digital transformation of science, society and the economy.
Instruction to apply
Thank you to send :
- Cover letter
- Support letters (mandatory)
- List of publication
Defence Security :
This position is likely to be situated in a restricted area (ZRR), as defined in Decree No. 2011-1425 relating to the protection of national scientific and technical potential (PPST).Authorisation to enter an area is granted by the director of the unit, following a favourable Ministerial decision, as defined in the decree of 3 July 2012 relating to the PPST. An unfavourable Ministerial decision in respect of a position situated in a ZRR would result in the cancellation of the appointment.
Recruitment Policy :
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