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Welcome to the Virtual People Factory. Using this system you can create virtual people for a variety of uses. Currently the most common use of the Virtual People Factory is to create Virtual Patients for Medical and Pharmacy education.

Please create an account or log in to begin.

Please post questions about Virtual People Factory on the Virtual People Factory List Serve

Recent Updates

VPF Updates Page

October 13, 2011

Zippy Speed
• We have made several speed improvements to Virtual People Factory, enjoy!

October 13, 2011

Virtual Patient Pipeline
• The Virtual Patient Pipeline is now available on the VPF home page. The pipeline is a step-by-step process for generating virtual patients in VPF. Please send any feedback to VirtualPeopleFactory@gmail.com

November 7, 2010

Couple changes to the VPF Second Life Client.
• Added suggested response system to VPF SL Client. Now you can use interactions in Second Life to develop the conversations of your virtual humans. See the VPF SL Client help file under "Suggested Responses" for details.
• You can now have your SL character give a little talking head gesture when speaking instead of the type animation.

September 30, 2010

Export Transcripts: Advanced users can now export transcripts on the View Transcripts page. Just select the script, then select the group you would like to export or 'All'. Once you select a group, you will see two buttons, the first button will export the overviews to excel, and the second button will export the details to word. If you would like to export transcripts, but you don't have advanced permissions, please contact the VPF administrator.


June 11, 2010

VPF Second Life Client Update: The VPF Second Life client has been updated. Download it from the home page after login. 

This update includes the following: 

1. Fixes the problem where the avatar shows up as a glowing blue bubble. 
2. You can now send chat messages through your bot, so if your script doesn't know something, you can provide the answer. 
3. You can now send animations manually from a list of available animations.
4. The client now requires a VPF username and password, so you can only access your own scripts using the VPF Second Life Client.


May 28, 2010

• Scheduled Shutdown:  The VPF Server will be down on Saturday, May 29th from 1AM - 8AM Eastern Time.


April 21, 2010

•   Group by Group Consent Forms: You can now specify a consent form for each group. VPF is often used for research studies, and sometimes different groups need something other than the standard consent form. When you specify a consent form, the default form will no longer be used.


April 10, 2010

•   Rich Text Instructions: You can now create instructions on the Edit Script settings page that use Rich Text, such as bold, italics, and lists. 
•   New Themes: There's lots more themes available now. 
•   Leaderboards: New leaderboards system for competitive information discovery. You can activate leaderboards on a per Group basis. 
•   Demo Interactions: After login, you'll find a link to a set of demonstration interactions. The link to these demonstrations is in the home page inside the "Logged In" box.


July 25th, 2009 
•   Account Settings: there is now an Account Settings page. You will see the link in the upper right to the Logout button. On this page you can update your name, email, password, and access level. Note: Access Level was previously on the Edit Script Settings page.
•   VPF License Agreement: When you log in you will see a VPF license agreement. Please read the agreement and sign your name at the bottom. The agreement makes official what has already been VPF user agreement practice. You will only need to sign this agreement once. If you have any questions or complaints about this user license agreement, please email VirtualPeopleFactory@gmail.com.
•   Gator Theme Added
•   Video Overview and Publication: Added video overview and Intelligent Virtual Agents conference publication to video list. 
•   Play Audio Responses: You can now upload mp3s to play as audio responses. You upload the audio on the script files page, then connect it on the edit scripts page under Speech, and it should play on the Test Script page and public interaction pages. 

July 19th, 2009 
•   Virtual Human Templates: The first virtual human template, Virtual Patient Generator, is now available for use on the Create Scripts page. This system will allow you to quickly generate a basic virtual patient. Try it out by going to the Create Scripts page, and click on "Create Script from Template". As the first release of this project, please consider the Virtual Human Templates system to be "in testing". Please send feedback on this system toVirtualPeopleFactory@gmail.com.
•   The Virtual People Factory server has been upgraded to the latest version of it's web server software. If you notice anything that has stopped working, please email the problem to VirtualPeopleFactory@gmail.com.

July 15th, 2009 

NOTICE: The Virtual People Factory server will be down for scheduled maintenance on Saturday, July 18th. The server will be down 1-4 hours starting at Noon.

June 5th, 2009 
•   View by Topic: you can now find all the Speeches in a specific topic on the Edit Scripts page. 
•   Acts: you can now use Acts in the VPF Web Browser interactions. Just check Use Acts in VPF on the Script Properties page and set the starting act. 

May 31st, 2009 
Lots of big updates this week 
•  A whole new look! As you've probably already noticed, VPF has a whole new look and feel. Don't worry, everything is still where it used to be, just nicer looking. 
•  Themes: You can choose your own look for VPF. Once you log in, there will be a "Theme" dropdown in the upper right corner, try out a few themes and find your favorite. Your theme choice will be saved for future visits. 
•  Manual setting of minimum relevance: you can now set the minimum speech understanding relevance from 0 (match anything remotely similar) to 1000 (match only exact questions). If you want to catch a lot of new inputs, set your relevance very high. If you want your character to try to respond to anything, set the relevance very low. This is an advanced setting, only make changes to it if you're sure about what you're doing. This tool can be accessed at the bottom of the Script Settings page (Script Properties > Edit Script Settings). 
•   Specified Topic: You can now specify the topic you would like to search. 
This is useful for faking a physical exam. For example, 
    You: "exam: have patient stand to check back pain" 
    Character: "Patient's back hurts while standing." -- rr whatever you put in the response 
Specifying the topic makes it much more likely that the response will be in a specific topic, but it does not guarantee it. For example, 
    You: "exit: hello" 
    Character: "Hello Doctor" 
But if there are multiple possibilities, such as, 
    You: "exit: hello goodbye" 
    Character: "Goodbye doctor." 
•   VPF Survey: after each interaction, participants will now be given a VPF Intelligence survey. In this survey, participants assess the intelligence of the character. 
•   Set User Level: You can now set your user level on the Script Settings page. By adjusting the user level, VPF will hide/show advanced tools on all the pages. This can be useful to minimize the amount of data you need to look at, as well as to make VPF look cleaner during demonstrations. 
•   Script Access List Autocomplete: When giving other people access to edit a script, the access list will now autocomplete with VPF users. This is intended to help prevent misspellings. This tool can be accessed on the Script Settings page. 

May 27th, 2009 
•  VPF has now moved from verg.cise.ufl.edu to vpf.cise.ufl.edu, all existing links will be automatically redirected to the new site. You can also access vpf throughhttp://www.virtualpeoplefactory.org . 
•  Discoveries Preview: you can now set discoveries to show a preview of the discovery. It will show everything up to a ":". For example, if the discovery is "Age: 35 years" the preview will be "Age:", then when someone asks, "How old are you?" the discovery will change to "Age: 35 years". Discoveries Preview can be turned on and off on the Script Properties page under Discoveries. 
•  Flash Audio: there were some reports of problems with quicktime for playing audio. Since flash is more commonly installed on all systems, vpf now uses a small flash audio player. The player is hidden in firefox, but you can see it in the lower left corner in other browsers. 

•   For VH Developers: VPF Web Services are now available for accessing the VPF database. You can try it out here:http://vpf.cise.ufl.edu/VPFWebService/EndUserInteraction.asmx 
That web service can be directly integrated into any .net project using Visual Studio. For more details, email Brent. 

March 21st, 2009 
•  Second Life VPF Character Updates: 
    1) Have a body: you can customize the body by logging in with the regular second life client 
    2) Animations: you can add animations by putting the LLUUID of an animation in the Animation Description on the Script Properties page. Then link that animation to a speech on the Edit Scripts page. A list of standard LLUUIDs can be found here:http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Internal_Animations 
    3) Respond to Chat messages: be careful not to put your VPF Character in a crowded area, they will try to respond to everything that is said. They can get quite chatty. 
    4) Chat typing animation: the characters use the typing animation and type at 100wpm. This is for chat only, not IM. There is a check box in the GUI to disable this feature. 

February 14th, 2009 
•  You can now talk to your VPF characters through Second Life. Just IM your VPF character and they will respond. Download VPF Second Life from the Downloads section after logging in.. 

February 7th, 2009 
•   VPF now uses a phrase replacement list. This replacement list can help to make scripts more accurate by telling the script what words/phrases are equivalent. You can use the replacement list to take care of acronyms, synonyms, common speech recognition errors, and multiple words which mean one word. 
Acronym: Dr. = doctor, std = sexually transmitted disease 
Synonym: hurt = pain 
Speech Rec Error: howler = how are 
Phrase: breast taken off = mastectomy 
The Phrase Replacement List tool is accessed on the script properties page. You can find synonyms by clicking on a keyword. VPF will then give you a list of synonyms if they are available. 

January 29th, 2009 
•   Tutorials two and three are now available. 
Tutorial two covers using the suggestions system to improve natural language scripts. 
Tutorial three covers the script settings page including sharing a script for editing, entering a description, and uploading an image. 

January 28th, 2009 
•   The first Tutorial is now up. This tutorial covers getting started with VPF, specifically, How to Create a Natural Language Script. 

October 28th, 2008 
•   You can now make it so that discoveries don't show during an the interaction. Discoveries will still be logged and show up after the interaction. Go to the Script Properties page to change this setting. 
•  Our virtual humans now handle pronouns much better. The system uses two methods for this: 
Method 1 example: Use context to replace the pronoun 
User: "What thyroid medication are you taking?" 
Character: "I take synthroid." 
User: "How long have you been taking that?" <- replaces "that" with synthroid 
Character: "I've been taking synthroid for about 2 years." 

Method 2 example: Get a specification of the pronoun (this assumes that we couldn't get a good specification from the context) 
User: "How long have you been taking that?" 
Character: "How long have I been taking what?" 
User: "Synthroid" 
Character: "I've been taking synthroid for about 2 years." 

July 29th, 2008 
•  There is now a Virtual Human Forum ! Use this forum to ask questions and find answers about VPF. 
•  There is now spell checking, sounds like, and levenstein difference to improve the chances of getting good speech understanding. 
For example: a sentence like "Is Aspring is casing the pin?" gets automatically changed into "Is Aspirin is causing the pain?" Aspring is a misspelling of Aspirin (Spell Check) 
Casing sounds like Causing (Double Metaphone detection) 
Pin is one letter from Pain (Levenstein Difference) 
•  There is now more helpful feedback and warnings  to improve the script. For instance, the system will now try to detect if a trigger covers more than one subject. A bad trigger would be "I'm sorry to hear that. How much Aspirin are you taking?" these should be divided into two separate triggers. 
•  The characters will now try to respond to each sentence in an input. 
For Example: When someone says: "Hello. How are you feeling today?" 
The character will say, "Hello" 
"I'm not feeling too well." 

July 17th, 2008 
•  There is now a global keywords system that will improve the accuracy of speech understanding. You can see which words are being used as keywords, and choose keywords to exclude, on the Script Properties page. 
•  There is now a system to help your virtual people stay on topic. By putting in the topic of each response, your virtual human will try to stay with the current topic under discussion. 
•  Images can now be added to trigger maps in VPF. As in, when users ask, "Can I see your x-rays" they see actual x-rays. 

May 18th, 2008 
•  We've moved to a new server. You may not have noticed because everything is being automatically redirected to the new server. 
•  Timed Triggers. You can now have the character say something based on how time in the interaction. 
•  You can now review how frequently Discoveries are found. You can get to this tool from the View Transcripts page. 

April 28th - May 4th, 2008 
•  You can now add animation descriptions on the Script Properties page (you must have advanced user privileges). This description shows up in parentheses during interactions. 
For example: 
---------------------------------- 
1) You: Can you show me where your stomach hurts? 
2) Vic Johnson: i have pain here (Points to lower center abdomen) 
---------------------------------- 
•  Access List moved to Edit Script Settings page (Script Properties > Edit Script Settings) to make room for Discovery System on the Script Properties page. 
•  There is now a new feature , the Discovery System . The Discovery System allows you to inform users when they have discovered an important piece of information. An important piece of information, in the case of a Virtual Patient script, could be the character's blood pressure, chief complaint, or medicine's he is currently taking. 
The Discovery System can be accessed on the Script Properties page. On that page you can make a list of the important discoveries in the script. On the Edit Script page, you can mark which Speeches deliver each important piece of information under the "speech box". Just click a "speech box", and if there are any discoveries listed for this script, you will be able to select one from a pulldown. 
This system is optional and will only appear when there are discoveries connected to the script. 
•  There is a new feature , Analyze Transcript Accuracy . This allows you to mark speech responses as No Response, Misleading, Inaccurate, or Accurate. By doing this, responses marked as misleading or innacurate are added to the suggestions system. This way one can go through transcripts and manually find and correct script errors. 

April 14th - 20th, 2008 
A number of big updates this week 
•  Added a pronoun warning. So whenever there is an it, this, that, those, or these in a sentence, a subtle warning shows up that says "Avoid the use of pronouns (it, this, that, these, those)" This warning disappears when the next utterance is submitted. 
•  Moved the VPF database to a much faster server. 
•  Triggers are now searchable on the Edit Scripts page 
•  Added a spot for keeping a description of the character on the Script Settings page (Script Properties > Edit Script Settings). This is really just for organizational purposes. 
•  VPF plays a soft beep each time the character speaks. That way if there is network delay, users know when they've received a response even if they've looked away. 
•  VPF transcript text now scrolls down the page instead of up it 
•  When typing in a response in the suggestions system, it now shows similar responses so you can chose from one of those. 
•  Made a dynamic tutorial for the suggestions system. It shows step-by-step what each item on the page does. May add this to some other pages, but was most important for the suggestions tool.