AR startups are popping up everywhere. The latest of them to make a noise is Artie, a fledgling company comprising of Virtual Reality vets who came up with this lovely idea. Namely, Artie is making Artificial Intelligence Augmented Reality avatars to serve as personal or household virtual companions. The idea has already generated enough interest (and funds), so we can expect a run very soon.
The shift to AR is gaining pace. There is a very common, and very sensible view, that Augmented Reality is more useful at the present when compared to VR. We are still figuring ways to utilize the latter, while the former looks better equipped to merge with our day-to-day lives. That said, Artie’s Augmented Reality avatars fit the bill just right. These emotionally intelligent AR companions will be savvy enough for intelligent interaction, and present enough on smartphones or AR glasses to be serviceable.
What Artie brings to the table is their proprietary Wonderfriend engine to bring the cartoonish creations to life. The Augmented Reality avatar biggest draw is their interactive nature, their engaging character. In words of one of the creators: ‘The avatar will use AI to figure out whether you are happy or sad that would guide it in terms of response it should have’. These avatars, the idea is, will become part of our daily routine, all the time. ‘Your avatar can be ready so you don’t have to talk to it to activate it’.
This is not all. Artie creators are hoping to attract, or rather, secure, the rights to tap into the pool of ready-made, easily recognized characters and give them to people. ‘Our ambition is to unlock the world of intellectual property you are already familiar with’. It is only a matter of time before we have famous entertainment characters, say, Spider-Man, as AI/AR companions in our phones.
With the pace that Artie is showing, the startup is hoping to secure famous brands partnership early next year. We mention the pace because the company has already secured plenty of investors in their project. No sum is disclosed, but the names on the list are none too shabby, like Founders Fund, DCG, or Chad Hurley – YouTube’s cofounder.
The names behind Artie are two former VR devotees and Hollywood behind-the-scenes hopefuls, Armando Kirwin and Ryan Horrigan. They both made names for themselves in pictures leaving their indelible marks on titles such as ’12 Years a Slave’ or ‘The Book of Eli’, serving many top posts in picture production. Artie team currently numbers 10 people, while on the lookout for more talent in AR, AI, and Computer vision.
Augmented Reality avatars obviously play to the emotional side of things. By the creator’s admission, the AR technology is able to differ between seven emotional states as it stands. Also, avatars can recognize some 80 objects, while they are being recognized by big fish in the industry. Google and Verizon have already signed up for the project, with Artie set on a sensible marketing campaign to generate public interest. And it’s working.