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Comment submitted by bob

BC: This was another Wow! Moment. I saw a demo of Ananova from the guys at Digital Animation Group in Feb 1999, and it was fascinating - not only the quality of the computer rendering, the skin-tones and texture, hair detail etc, but the realtime delivery of this together with lip-phoneme synchronisation and the animation of expression using embedded 'visemes' in Ana Nova's mark-up language (she 'read' through the voice synthesiser in your PC - from a news script with embedded phoneme/viseme mark-up). Developed for the Press Association at an estimated cost of £400k, Ananova was sold in July 2000 to Orange for £95 million! Cool or what? By the way I saw this demo with a bunch of guys - including Martin Reiser and Andrea Zapp and Andy Cameron - who were all familiar with the many attempts to make a software talking head (Knowledge Navigator visualisations, Hollis Research 'Personality Contructs, Media Lab, Donald Michie's stuff etc) - so we bombarded DAG with questions. Interestingly DAG seemed completely unaware of the precedents. I mustn't get fixed ideas about how creativity works...