Bio-inspired animated characters: A mechanistic & cognitive view

Ben Kenwright*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


Unlike traditional animation techniques, which attempt to copy human movement, 'cognitive' animation solutions mimic the brain's approach to problem solving, i.e., a logical (intelligent) thinking structure. This procedural animation solution uses bio-inspired insights (modelling nature and the workings of the brain) to unveil a new generation of intelligent agents. As with any promising new approach, it raises hopes and questions; an extremely challenging task that offers a revolutionary solution, not just in animation but to a variety of fields, from intelligent robotics and physics to nanotechnology and electrical engineering. Questions, such as, how does the brain coordinate muscle signals? How does the brain know which body parts to move? With all these activities happening in our brain, we examine how our brain 'sees' our body and how it can affect our movements. Through this understanding of the human brain and the cognitive process, models can be created to mimic our abilities, such as, synthesizing actions that solve and react to unforeseen problems in a humanistic manner. We present an introduction to the concept of cognitive skills, as an aid in finding and designing a viable solution. This helps us address principal challenges, such as: How do characters perceive the outside world (input) and how does this input influence their motions? What is required to emulate adaptive learning skills as seen in higher life-forms (e.g., a child's cognitive learning process)? How can we control and 'direct' these autonomous procedural character motions? Finally, drawing from experimentation and literature, we suggest hypotheses for solving these questions and more. In summary, this article analyses the biological and cognitive workings of the human mind, specifically motor skills. Reviewing cognitive psychology research related to movement in an attempt to produce more attentive behavioural characteristics. We conclude with a discussion on the significance of cognitive methods for creating virtual character animations, limitations and future applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 Future Technologies Conference (FTC)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781509041718
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2017
Event2016 Future Technologies Conference - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 6 Dec 20167 Dec 2016


Conference2016 Future Technologies Conference
Abbreviated titleFTC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • adapting
  • animation
  • biological
  • biomechanics
  • cognitive
  • human
  • instinctual
  • learning
  • life-like
  • modular
  • movement
  • optimisation
  • reactive
  • responsive
  • scalable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Media Technology
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Education
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems


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