Photographer's Note

Two years ago, in front of railway station in Milan, the whole yard was transformed into a stage of Modern Art.

My attention was attracted by this metal sculpture, that I ironically called - The Thinking Head .

I did internet research and here's what I found under this heading.

А good weekend тo all !

Due anni fa circa, davanti alla stazione ferroviaria di Milano, tutto il piazzale era trasformato in un palcoscenico dell' Arte Moderna.

La mia attenzione stata attratta da questa figura metallica che io, ironicamente, chiamato la Testa Pensante.

Ho fatto la ricerca internet, ed ecco cosa ho trovato sotto questo titolo.

Researchers have used complex algorithms and software to bring the program, worth nearly $5 million, to life, offering a range of facial expressions, gestures and eye contact.

The five-year project is designed to create a computer interface that communicates with humans in a believable way.

It incorporates about a dozen technologies that for the first time are being brought together to create a comprehensive platform for communications research.

Flinders University informatics and engineering school Thinking Head research team leader David Powers said the group had joined with a German university to develop a German-language version of the head.

"It will be used in Germany to teach children English, but the main focus is teaching Australian children German," Associate Professor Powers said.

"We are particularly focusing on nine-year-olds, but we will be doing some broader studies from pre-school to university."

Associate Professor Powers said trials of the project in Australian classrooms would begin within two years.

"At the moment, this year we are participating in a workshop with modern language teachers, who will be helping us to develop the lessons. The deployment is then hoped to be in 2010."

There was also interest in using the system to teach Asian languages, he said.

The research team, which includes research associates Dr Martin Luerssen and Dr Trent Lewis, is planning to develop an audiovisual speech recognition capability within 12 months.

A lip-reading capability will enable spoken conversation with the Thinking Head, even in noisy environments.

The project is supported by $3.5 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council, with the remainder from various universities and partners. The University of Western Sydney, Macquarie University and the University of Canberra are also taking part.

The team is working with the Melbourne Museum to develop the program as a museum guide kiosk.

It is expected to be in use towards the end of the year.

The Thinking Head project will also be featured at Synthetic Times, an art and technology exhibition staged by the National Art Museum of China in association with the Beijing Olympics.

Associate Professor Powers said the team was keen to develop a range of heads, faces and voices.

"We are working on looking at what the person you are talking to is doing, their expression, what they are looking at, and whether they are paying attention or getting bored, angry or frustrated, and reacting appropriately," he said.

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Additional Photos by Igor Sadovy (ingvar) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 210 W: 98 N: 391] (2106)
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