Nothing brings out the jitters like a job interview, especially if it’s a coveted position. But nervous candidates could soon get a little pre-interview advice with “Mach,” an avatar designed to help people improve their social skills and overcome awkward conversation.
Standing for My Automated Conversation Coach, Mach appears as a 3D-animated character who poses the usual interview questions via an interface screen. Compliments of a webcam, the system track gestures and facial expressions, the content and mannerisms of speech and can even make recommendations on improving technique.
Designed by Ehsan Hoque of MIT’s Media Lab, along with colleagues at the University of Madison-Wisconsin and LIMSI, a French research lab near Paris, Mach can show how often people smiled, used weak language, “ahhed” and “ummed” or mumbled during the interview.
“Mach plays the role of the interviewer: It will smile at you, it will nod its head at the right points and at the end it will give you feedback,” Hoque said, according to New Scientist.
Better yet, as people go through a series of mock interviews, Mach can tell if improvement in technique is being made. Hoque and colleagues are now trying to raise funds so Mach can be deployed anywhere on Internet browsers. The system will be put to the test at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology this October in St. Andrews, UK.
Credit: MIT Media Lab