Dr Cristina Dobre
Cristina Dobre has a background in Mathematics and Computing receiving distinction in her undergraduate degree in Computer Science.
My current focus is on the nonverbal cues that influence and shape the social interaction in immersive VR environments. More broadly, I'm investigating autonomous agents (or virtual humans) in social settings in terms of non-verbal interactions with users. I'm interested in the underlying mechanics of social interaction that help developing an emphatic and engaging virtual human. At the moment, I'm working on ML models based on multimodal datasets to detect various social cues (such as gaze) or various human-defined social attitudes (such as engagement) in social interactions in VR. I'm also interested in generating more complex behaviour for virtual characters (NPCs) that will improve the user's experience with the NPCs in a social VR setting.
Designing communication and other social interactions in immersive VR can be a challenging task, and aspects on this are addressed in my research. The findings from these studies can help game designers and game developers determine the appropriate non-player character's non-verbal (and verbal) behaviour in games, especially in VR games. Along with its applications in the games industry, the findings would be useful for other applications such as designing multi-modal human-machine interactions and other systems for medical purposes, for social anxiety disorders therapy, simulations, training or learning.