Digital avatars have been around for a while now. Earlier versions seemed to capture the spirit of a user's likeness rather than how they might have actually looked. A new startup is looking to change that. The San Francisco-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup wants to turn your digital avatar three dimensional, and deliver it with stunning likeness.
Loom.ai's tech uses basic digital photos to automatically generate a detailed 3D avatar which could be used in text message, social media, virtual reality (VR) games, and even e-commerce. It relies on machine learning to capture and recreate the subtleties of a human face. It gets better at inferring other facial expressions as it learns more data about facial movements.
Founded by visual effects veterans Mahesh Ramasubramanian (who previously worked as a visual effects supervisor in DreamWorks for projects like Shrek and Madagascar 3) and Kiran Bhat (formerly in facial animation at LucasFilm, with movies like The Avengers and Pirates of the Caribbean under his belt), Loom.ai came out from obscurity this week with $1.3 million in seed funding. "We believe that you need to bring the user into the experience, which means figuring out a way to digitize the everyday user just like we used to digitize the movie stars," said Bhat.
It's not definite yet where this tech will find itself, but Loom.ai is keen on licensing its technology to third-party platforms. In any case, with massive adoption, Loom.ai's 3D avatar tech has the potential to reshape our virtual communication experience.