Artie’s engine uses AI to create entertaining and highly interactive avatars in augmented reality.
The ability to create engaging avatars is crucial if social immersive experiences and platforms wish to catch on with consumers. Unfortunately, that’s arguably the trickiest part of the puzzle, as creators have to somehow balance the desire for realistic representation/interaction with avoiding the dreaded “Uncanny Valley” aesthetic. 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 (not naming names).
Artie, an LA-based company that recently launched out of stealth mode, hopes to do just that by leveraging sophisticated AI technology. According to a news release, the team has developed software that allows content creators to bring virtual characters – i.e. intelligent avatars — to life in augmented reality.
This proprietary “Wonderfriend Engine” enables these avatars to interact and converse with consumers, as well as each other in a more realistic and engaging manner. Avatars can recognize a large variety of objects and even express 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,” says 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’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.
“I’ve long been fascinated by where the next generation 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,” commented Hurley.
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.”
Image Credit: Artie