Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Voice-driven games: Dialog Box supports collaborative gaming in multilingual multi-user environment

01.03.2016

Language technologists have created the basis for a new kind of realistic communication in computer games. The Dialog Box supports collaboration and interaction between players speaking different languages. Using a space adventure game as a model, the research team led by Dietrich Klakow at Saarland University has developed the Dialog Box in cooperation with other project partners. Players can pose intuitive questions to the computer, issue commands and receive information. The Dialog Box acts as a mediating agent that enables the computer to understand spoken words and to manage the mission by linking the game being played by German-, French- and English-speaking players.

The research project has received about three million euros in funding from the EU research initiative EUREKA, with half a million euros awarded to the research work carried out in Saarland.


Dietrich Klakow (l.), Thomas Kleinbauer and Anna Schmidt have, together with partners, developed a dialogue system that supports collaboration between computer gamers speaking different languages

Credit: Iris Maurer

Demo video of the computer game ‘Sonar Silence’:
https://www.lsv.uni-saarland.de/index.php?id=71

In a space station that is clearly in deep trouble, Player One wakes from his cryogenic sleep. According to ‘Uri’, the all-knowing onboard computer, the oxygen level is sinking fast. Uri, short for ‘User recognition interface’, helps the player to locate and identify the source of the problem, to solve it, and thus save the station and its crew. And it all happens without a joystick or a mouse, simply by using spoken questions and commands. Uri provides detailed answers in a pleasant voice and in the same language as that spoken by the player. By executing the spoken commands it receives, Uri brings Player One into contact with the other members of the crew. The crew members then work as a team to repair the station, with each team member speaking to Uri in their own language.

‘For our showcase application “Sonar Silence”, which is the name our model game goes by, we’ve created a novel architecture for dialogue systems. The new architecture can be quickly and easily integrated into computer games, but can also be used for other multilingual conversational applications in which several people work collaboratively to solve a problem,” explains Professor Dietrich Klakow. The computational linguist from Saarland University was part of the Dialog Box project in which he and his team worked together with the Austrian games company and project coordinator Mi'pu'mi Games, the Idiap Research Institute, the Swiss company Koemei, the Belgian company Acapela and the German firm Sikom Software.

The Dialog Box multilingual agent supports the players by using higher-level knowledge to coordinate the overall game. By sharing important information among the different players, the individual games can be merged seamlessly into a single game. The Dialog Box understands and speaks the languages German, English and French. ‘Training the system in other languages is not a problem,’ says computer linguist Anna Schmidt, a PhD student in Klakow’s research group and recipient of a Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship.

The Saarbrücken language technologists developed the automatic language understanding module for the Dialog Box. Specifically, they taught the computer to understand the players and the situations that the players find themselves in during the game. As a result, Uri knows what an airlock is and can draw appropriate conclusions regarding it, such as whether the airlock is open or closed. To achieve this, the research team put together a vast array of data and information regarding context, environment and background. ‘We used a prototype to determine the typical questions asked, which involved carrying out tests with volunteers,’ explains Thomas Kleinbauer, a researcher in Dietrich Klakow’s group and a research scientist within the Cluster of Excellence ‘Multimodal Computing and Interaction’. Everything was then transcribed and translated so that it could be understood by the computer. The researchers were able to build on the results obtained in earlier projects. With this knowledge base available, Uri is in a position to understand questions and commands, recognize relationships and respond accordingly, for example by opening an airlock when requested.

The research group led by Dietrich Klakow is working on numerous other projects to expand and improve automatic language understanding systems. The group has already received a number of awards for its work, including a Google Research Award for Professor Klakow.

Background:
The conversational interaction with computers that is possible today has been decisively influenced by the work of computer linguists in Saarbrücken. Saarland University’s Saarbrücken campus is one of the major centres of language technology. Many of the threads linking international research projects in the field of language technology converge in Saarbrücken. A new collaborative research centre is examining the role of information density in language use. One of the goals of the Saarbrücken-based Cluster of Excellence ‘Multimodal Computing and Interaction’ (MMCI) is to construct computer systems that enable users to interact with them in a manner similar to how humans interact with one another. The computer linguists work closely with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and the two Max Planck Institutes for Informatics and for Software Systems, all of which are located on the Saarbrücken campus.

Project funding is provided by the EU EUREKA programme
https://www.eurostars-eureka.eu/project//id/7152

Contact:
Prof. Dietrich Klakow: Tel.: +49 (0)681 302-58122, E-Mail: Dietrich.Klakow@lsv.uni-saarland.de
Dr. Thomas Kleinbauer: Tel.: +49 (0)681 302-58130; E-Mail: thomas.kleinbauer@lsv.uni-saarland.de
Anna Schmidt/ Martin Gropp: Tel.: +49 (0)681 302-4348, E-Mail: aschmidt@lsv.uni-saarland.de

Press photographs are available at http://www.uni-saarland.de/Pressefotos and can be used free of charge. Please read and comply with the conditions of use.

Press releases from 2015 on other areas of research conducted in the Klakow group:
Sprachforscher machen das Fliegen sicherer: Assistenzsystem versteht Gespräche von Lotse und Pilot [Computer linguists are making flying safer: New support system understands spoken interactions between pilots and air traffic controllers – available in German only]
https://idw-online.de/de/news635391
Sprachforscher bringen dem Computer bei, zwischen den Zeilen zu lesen [Linguists teach computers to read between the lines – available in German only]
https://idw-online.de/de/news626293

Note for radio journalists: Studio-quality telephone interviews can be conducted using broadcast audio IP codec technology (IP direct dial or via the ARD node 106813020001). Contact: +49 (0)681 302-2601 or -64091.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.lsv.uni-saarland.de/index.php?id=71 - Demo video of the computer game ‘Sonar Silence’

Claudia Ehrlich | Universität des Saarlandes

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New technique controls autonomous vehicles on a dirt track
24.05.2016 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Engineers take first step toward flexible, wearable, tricorder-like device
24.05.2016 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Worldwide Success of Tyrolean Wastewater Treatment Technology

A biological and energy-efficient process, developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck, converts nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment facilities into harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas. This innovative technology is now being refined and marketed jointly with the United States’ DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). The largest DEMON®-system in a wastewater treatment plant is currently being built in Washington, DC.

The DEMON®-system was developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck 11 years ago. Today this successful technology has been implemented in about 70...

Im Focus: Computational high-throughput screening finds hard magnets containing less rare earth elements

Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.

The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...

Im Focus: Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...

Im Focus: Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices

Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.

Im Focus: Graphene: A quantum of current

When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene

In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

International expert meeting “Health Business Connect” in France

19.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

11 million Euros for research into magnetic field sensors for medical diagnostics

27.05.2016 | Awards Funding

Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

New Model of T Cell Activation

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>