Why an Avatar?
In the Hindu religion, an avatar is the human personification of the God Vishnu. While there are many avatars of Vishnu, one of the most popular and revered avatar is Lord Krishna. Ancient texts depict Krishna in many forms, the most common being a character standing on one leg playing the flute, surrounded by gopis (young milkmaids) and with a blue face. Yes, James Cameron did get a few things correct before releasing his blockbuster movie! Krishna is thought to have come into this world at a time when humans were experiencing wars, famine and oppression. He is known as a character with great compassion, tenderness and love. His role was to restore the cosmic balance between good and evil in the world. It’s a good time for an avatar to visit our world, don’t you think? iDAvatars was formed to develop characters with empathy, that listened to a person and was there to serve. The vision: To allow a smart device to communicate with people the way people interact with one another (but with empathy and tenderness, of course!) Humans have multiple senses, but devices generally only have 2 – sight and sound. How do you make a person feel heard with just these 2 senses? You create a virtual character that moves in a manner that the person expects of someone who is listening intently. Compare the experience of hearing someone on a video conference call and staring at a static picture of their dog, with that of watching a live person responding to you on camera. You get the picture. We started with rigging that had a few independent movements, no fluidity, and very few “bones” that an animator could move. It took great skill in dialog, design and engineering to make the avatar feel like it was listening, but we did it. Today, we have hundreds of movements, dozens of bones and exceptional fluidity on our proprietary platform. But it still takes great skill in dialog, design and engineering …. it is not the technology, stupid! Sorry Lance …. we did this in Colorado without doping the avatar. How would this play out? Imagine the new Amazon Echo with a screen sitting at the kitchen counter at your parents’ home. Currently, Alexa is just a voice, responding to your commands, but she also keeps track of things around her. Now, imagine a virtual character that makes your parents feel like she listens, reminds them of their medications, sends an alert to you if something is wrong or missing, or even if Mom mentions she misses her darling children … Instead of just sitting on the kitchen counter, our avatar now is the friend that helps your parents stay well and in touch.