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Making Intelligent Avatars in AR

Artie is an AI engine that creates entertaining and highly interactive avatars for use in Augmented Reality.

The ability to create engaging avatars is of course crucial if Social Immersive experiences and platforms are ever to catch on with consumers, and that’s arguably also the trickiest piece of the puzzle, as creators have to balance the desire for realistic representation and interaction with avoiding the dreaded Uncanny Valley. It will be interesting to see who cracks that particular nut first, as so far no particular player has emerged as a clear front runner and many of the social VR platforms only offer avatars that range from functional to frankly embarrassing (naming no names).

The ability to create engaging avatars is key to making Social Immersive experiences catch on with consumers Click To Tweet

Recently launched out of stealth mode, Artie is a LA-based company that hopes to do just that by leveraging sophisticated AI technology. According to a news release, they have developed software that allows content creators to bring virtual characters – i.e. Intelligent Avatars — to life.

This proprietary “Wonderfriend Engine” enables those avatars to interact and converse with consumers and each other in more realistic and engaging ways by doing things such as recognizing a large variety of objects and common facial expressions in real-time.

“Unlike other avatar apps, which only allow consumers to create and manually puppet avatars based on their own likeness for chat purposes, Artie enables consumers to interact and converse directly with their favorite characters,” said Ryan Horrigan, Co-founder and CEO of Artie. “We plan to unlock new value for the world’s biggest IP by creating a new form of avatar-based entertainment.”

Artie has developed software that allows content creators to bring virtual characters – i.e. Intelligent Avatars - to life Click To Tweet

Artie’s analytics engine and deep-learning insights means creators will be able to monitor engagement with their avatars in real-time. The platform also captures user behaviors to drive neural networks that automatically train and improve an avatar’s performance over time so that interactions get more lifelike for each subsequent user.

“Our avatars will actually learn from you, and become increasingly entertaining the more you interact with them,” says Co-founder Armando Kirwin. “Advancements in machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision and sentiment analysis allow our users to create intelligent avatars that are much more engaging than traditional media,” he adds.

The company is also working on an ‘Instant Avatar’ feature to make their avatars shareable via standard hyperlinks and thus discoverable on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube.

“We expect to see AI-driven avatars become mainstream experiences for consumers,” says Tipatat Chennavasin, General Partner of the Venture Reality Fund, which has invested in the company alongside the Founders Fund, WndrCo, M Ventures, Metaverse Ventures and YouTube Co-founder and former CEO Chad Hurley.

Artie has already secured partnerships with Google and Verizon for early experiments with its Avatar technology Click To Tweet

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“I’ve long been fascinated by where the next gen of entertainment might take us, and I believe that intelligent, virtual characters—like the kind you can make with Artie’s platform—will play a key role in how we create and interact with content,” adds Hurley.

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We expect to see AI-driven avatars become mainstream experiences Click To Tweet

Artie has already secured partnerships with Google and Verizon for early experiments with its technology and is beginning to onboard major media companies, celebrities, influencers, and an “emerging class of avatar-based entertainment creators.”

This article was first published on VRScout

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Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.