SARA is a Socially-Aware Robot Assistant that interacts with people in a whole new way, personalizing the interaction and improving task performance by relying on information about the relationship between the human user and virtual assistant. SARA (the Socially-Aware Robot Assistant) is a collaboration among Professor Justine Cassell and her research group at Carnegie Mellon University, Post Doctoral Fellow Yoichi Matsuyama, Oscar Romero and Sushma Ananda from the CMU-Yahoo InMind project, the World Economic Forum, Yahoo Research and Simcoach Games.
My work for the SARA Project was primarily focused on building a new SARA Framework for Unity 2017 as a lightweight replacement to the older VHToolkit and Smartbody base frameworks.
To control the virtual SARA humanoid character, a formatted JSON message is sent to the Unity Player, which then parses the incoming data and plays advanced synchronized body animation control, blendshape facial expressions, lip-sync, text-to-speech, and more.
The intention is that the New SARA Unity Framework can be built on top of for all future projects of the Articulab moving forward for superior compatibility, faster development, and easier maintenance.
Building this project required combined knowledge and application of C# programming, Unity Game Engine (in particular it's acclaimed Mecanim animation system), 3D art asset development (modeling, texturing, rigging & animating), and also human expression.