Skill Acquisition through Interactive Avatars
Dr. Nicholas Schweighofer is Co-Principal Investigator of this NSF-funded study, which aims to create a computer-based Interactive Avatar that can teach humans how to move. The scientific methods used in this pilot study will include simulation studies, behavioral studies, brain imaging studies, robotic studies, and implementations of the Interactive Avatar in a laboratory environment. The Interactive Avatar will be able to demonstrate movements to its user, monitor the execution of these movements by the user, and suggest corrections in case of inadequate performance. The Interactive Avatar will be useful in a large number of applications, including rehabilitation of movement-impaired patients and special needs education, in addition to contributing new insights into biological motor control and the functioning of the nervous system. The project will contribute knowledge on the functional organization of the human brain for perception and action, with potential applications to clinical and rehabilitation research, and will also address issues of intrinsic motivation in motor learning. This research will contribute knowledge that could provide important insights into how to help humans with learning disabilities, as well as how to create machines that are motivating to interact with.