Belfast was the venue for ILHAIRE’S first motion-capture data gathering session on 13th – 15th March, 2012. The focus of this exercise was to generate full body motion information associated with different types of laughter, as well as capturing the laughter audio events. Members from several project institutions came together for the event. The three-day session (1 day of preparation and 2 days of data capture) involved a number of activities specially designed to induce laughter. These included reading aloud tongue twisters, playing Wii games, party games, and other laughter-inducing activities. The success of the event was evidenced by the almost non-stop laughter that was expressed throughout the sessions, even when we were not gathering data.
Each session lasted 2-3 hours, a pair of friends participated in each session. The fact that they were friends turns out to be important; as one is more likely to be comfortable with laughing the presence of a friend than when with a stranger. Interestingly, much of the most useful laughter behaviour recorded occurred when the participants were not the direct focus of attention; for example when they observed others doing the laughter-inducing tasks. Another lesson we have taken from this exercise is the importance of having a strong social presence and a relaxed atmosphere.
The Belfast team are now in the process of cleaning, synchronising and annotating the audio, video and motion-capture data. Some of the data are already becoming available to other project members. In the future the data will be made more broadly available as part of the ILHAIRE laughter database.