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Virtual talking head expresses human emotions

The University of Cambridge has created a lifelike digital talking face that can express a range of emotions, including anger, happiness, and fear.

Zoe rears her talking head. University of Cambridge

With the arrival of in-car GPS units, and then Siri and its clones, products that give and receive voice commands and answers have become more common. But one problem, according to the University of Cambridge, is that disembodied digital voices can just be so darn impersonal.

So Toshiba's Cambridge Research Lab and the University of Cambridge's Department of Engineering set about putting a face to the voice.

What the team ended up with looks like something straight out of the British comedy franchise "Red Dwarf" -- perhaps the ancestor to the AI with the 6000 IQ, Holly -- floating in a sea of blackness and all.

Very appropriately, the head -- named Zoe -- is modeled after actor Zoe Lister, who the team spent days recording as she recited more than 7,000 lines in a variety of emotions. This was refined to six basic emotions: happy, sad, tender, angry, afraid, and neutral.

Read more of "Virtual talking head can express human emotions" at Crave Australia.