The ability of socially and emotionally impaired individuals to recognize and respond to emotions conveyed by the face is critical to improve their communication skills. 

The LIFEisGAME project attempts to show how it is possible to apply a pioneer serious game approach to teach people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to recognize facial emotions, using real time synthesis and automatic facial expression analysis. This is a joint project between Portugal and UT Austin.

The LIFEisGAME project is part of a broader research effort, focusing on an open question of scientific and clinical importance, of whether the use of virtual characters in interactive training programs can provide a basis for ASD rehabilitation. But first, we need to develop the technology. LIFEisGAME overall objective is to deploy a low cost real time facial animation system embedded in an experimental game, which will allow to further study the symptomatic problems of facial emotion recognition.

LIFEisGAME advances the synthesis of realistic virtual characters and markerless motion capture technology, and creates a non-stressful game to help individuals recognize facial emotions in an interactive way.



Verónica Orvalho (PI)

Computer Graphics, HCI, Character Animation

Miguel Sales Dias (Co-PI)

MLDC Director

Jake Aggarwal (Co-PI)

Computer Vision, Signal Processing

Cristina Queirós (Co-PI)

Psychology, Emotion Recognition

António Marques (Co-PI)

Psychology, Emotion Recognition

Xenxo Alvarez Blanco (Technical Director)

Computer Graphics, 3D Modelling and Animation








Verónica Orvalho as Speaker at Innovation Forum on Services and Technologies for Interactive Media (NET-STIM)

Pavilhão do Conhecimento, Lisbon, February 24, 2010

“The goal of the Thematic Network “Innovation Forum on Services and Technologies for Interactive Media (NET-STIM)” is to gather the expertise of Portuguese research centers, private companies and government agencies in order to place Portugal at the forefront of innovation in key interactive technologies and services for digital media


Best Paper Award- SBIM

Eurographics Symposium on Sketch-Based Interfaces and Modeling | Vancouver, Canada | 2011

Sketch Express: Facial Expressions Made Easy 






TALK: Jake Aggarwal and Veronica Orvalho

IC2 University of Texas at Austin | 9th May | 13h00-15h00

The team presented the first prototype of the LIFEisGAME project.  People could see the prototype in action. They explained the game design process and introduced the game techniques that makes this project possible





Verónica Orvalho as invited speaker at the I Seminário Tecnologias e Perturbações do Espectro do Autismo

Universidade do Minho- Pólo de Azúrem | 6th June 2012 |16h15

The goal is to present, reflect and discuss the use of Technology as a tool in the intervention of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The idea is to involve several areas in one open space for to discuss ideas and possibilities of intervention and collaborations on this theme. We invite investigators that work on the development of techniques that involve the technology as a therapy for ASD, as a learning approach.






Verónica Orvalho as invited speaker at the 1st International Seminar of Special Education

Auditório do Parque Biológico | Vila Nova de Gaia | 6 Julho

The 1st Seminar of Special Education of Vila Nova de Gaia aims to bring together researchers and scholars from different backgrounds, teachers, students, professionals and parents that articulate in their discussions aspects related to education, such as inclusion, training, teaching practices and transitions of students with SEN, particularly those who are becoming adults. This seminar pretended to promote reflection about the commitment of the whole society to human beings, particularly young people with disabilities.




Presented by José Serra | 13th of February | Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto

The number of sold smartphones and tablets all around the world led to an exponential increase of the available applications, for diverse operative systems in many areas.
These solutions have conquered the health context and the national market has proliferated mobile applications that aim to help professionals to carry out their activities with the greatest competency and efficiency as possible.
This workshop, aimed for students, researchers, health professionals and others interested in the area, seeks to present mobile applications in the health area developed in Portugal.


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