Microsoft Agent Demo

Introduction

Genie Merlin Robbie

Microsoft Agents, like the three standard characters pictured here, are animated, programmable, sprites that can talk to you, listen to you, and carry out commands. As a technology the Microsoft Agent is very cool -- and very bandwidth intensive. The first time you run the demo on the next page, for instance, you'll incur several megabytes of downloads. If you're on a slow connection, you might not want to go there.

The next page will load the Microsoft Agent Control, the Lernout and Hauspie text-to-speech engine, and what it needs of the Genie character. Once all that has installed (which may take several minutes, even on an ISDN line!), the Genie will appear on the upper left of your screen and talk to you.

Note that the next page uses ActiveX controls and VBScript. It will only work properly with IE 3.x or better. Netscape browsers do not support ActiveX controls or VBScript. You must accept the certificate presented for the Microsoft Agent control and the TTS engine, and you must allow the Agent install program to run, if you want to view the demo.

This seems almost too trivial to mention, but to hear the sound when the Genie talks you'll need to have a working sound card and speakers. Later on, to give the Genie voice commands, you'll need a working microphone. You can still run the demos even if you don't have a sound card and microphone, but they won't be nearly as impressive.

If you're not sure that your browser is properly set up to download, authenticate, and install ActiveX controls, click here. Otherwise, go on to the first Agent demonstration.


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