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ChatDirector: Enhancing Video Conferencing with Space-Aware Scene Rendering and Speech-Driven Layout Transition

Brian Moreno Collins
Karthik Ramani
Proceedings of the 2024 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, pp. 16 (to appear)


Remote video conferencing systems (RVCS) are widely adopted in personal and professional communication. However, they often lack the co-presence experience of in-person meetings. This is largely due to the absence of intuitive visual cues and clear spatial relationships among remote participants, which can lead to speech interruptions and loss of attention. This paper presents ChatDirector, a novel RVCS that overcomes these limitations by incorporating space-aware visual presence and speech-aware attention transition assistance. ChatDirector employs a real-time pipeline that converts participants' RGB video streams into 3D portrait avatars and renders them in a virtual 3D scene. We also contribute a decision tree algorithm that directs the avatar layouts and behaviors based on participants' speech states. We report on results from a user study (N=16) where we evaluated ChatDirector. The satisfactory algorithm performance and complimentary subject user feedback imply that ChatDirector significantly enhances communication efficacy and user engagement.