24 Jan 2002 rudybrian   » (Master)

The Tech Museum is hosting an 'Engineering WOW Weekend' this Saturday and Sunday. Folks from the HBRC and SFRSA will be there showing off their robotic creations. Zaza will have her first chance to interact with another robot since May of last year. It should be fun ;)

I cleaned up Zaza's goal arrival code a bit on the morning of the 15th and ran for most of the afternoon until her batteries ran out. The new code correctly identifies goal arrival, and initiates a verbal announcement of this.

On the 18th I added a few new 'virtual' security barriers to the planners map of the lower level of the museum which should help to prevent collision with a few 'invisible' obstacles in the Explorations gallery.

Work on the new control interface continues. I completed the dual-machine process monitoring Perl CGI, map applet hooks and CSS frame definitions last Friday. The new startup/shutdown CGI will take some time, but I should be able to complete it this Friday.

Over the last five months I have been searching for a way to replace Zaza's Windows-based face application with something that would run under Linux. Zaza2, the second computer onboard Zaza, has been getting progressively less reliable, and has hamstrung our ability to enhance Zaza's 'personality' by adding voice recognition, face tracking, or other vision applications. I tried Wine and several 'virtual machine' applications to run the application as-is. Unfortunately, either the sound output was horrible, or rendering of the mouth was done too slowly. I ran across a project attempting to synchronize the output from Festival with Ken Perlin's Java face. It doesn't appear that he was sucessfull, but gave me a few ideas. On the 16th I began working on a proof-of-concept to see if I could synchronize the output from Festival with the 13 'visemes' used by the MS SAPI SDK's 'talking microphone' with a Java applet/application. By the evening of the 17th I had a working demo. The applet uses a 'phoneme script' and WAV file produced by Festival to synchronize the audio playback with the appropriate 'viseme' for the phoneme being spoken. The results are encouraging, and prove the viability of this approach. My only lingering concern is performance. The architecture of the new face system will need to address this.

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