Making Avatars 'Intelligent'
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Have you ever imagined a scenario where a 3D character is able to interpret and animate the WhatsApp message you want to send to someone before communicating the same to the receiver with the desired emotion? Sounds like a scene right out of a sci-fi film, right? With Science taking giant leaps to convert our imagination into reality, intelligent avatars with voice-integration powers can’t be too far.
Working to build the required algorithms that allow these avatars to interpret speech is Scanta, an AR startup aiming to integrate machine learning with augmented reality to develop modern and immersive forms of communication. A startup that was born out of curiosity about the augmented reality is now striving to make AR avatars ‘intelligent’ with immense possibilities awaiting to be leveraged.
“This entire process allows the avatar to animate itself based on the voice inputs and gives us liberty to integrate across ecosystems. So, we're able to integrate with smart speakers, messenger applications, smartphone manufacturers and also, smart glasses manufacturers because we see that as also a prospective medium of communication,” shared the founder, Chaitanya Hiremath.
Scanta’s flagship product ‘Pikamoji’ aimed at creating immersive experiences of communication uses the library of over 110 3D characters Scanta has created over last one and a half years. The application can be utilized to augment 3D characters in videos and integrated with third party applications like TikTok. Remember the ‘Dame Tu Cosita’ dance challenge? Exactly!
The startup has recently appointed the former Founder of AR/VR for Tesla, Tyler Lindell as their Chief Product Officer. Using his years of experience, Lindell is looking to address multiple challenges Scanta is likely face while building the platform.
“One is going to be selecting and building out the right deep learning models. Next is going to be creating and optimizing our pipeline. And finally, the biggest one of all is going to be data, finding the right type of data and enough of it to create compelling animations,” Lindell explained.
For the initial years of their inception, Scanta was focused on changing the 3D gaming experience with its AR integrated platforms - AR Dunk & Polygoons. Officially established in 2016, the tech firm has been able to continuously raise capital from the United States and Germany based investors after becoming the first Indian startup to win at the Shark Tank showcase.
Talking more on investments, Hiremath said, “Since inception, we have raised a total of $600,000 in investments with Accent Capital as our primary investor. Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Wendy’s invested $40,000 in for a partnered campaign.” One of the initial campaigns run by Scanta, it proved how upcoming technology platforms could actually provide tangible matrices and disrupt traditional marketing.
The campaign was successfully executed in India to raise awareness and sales for these brands providing individuals with a uniquely immersive experience with AR avatars. “This is our key advantage to competitors in that we are predicting the next wave of communication and will have a product ready to launch,” he concluded.
(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)