Mar 3, 2017 | By Tess

If you thought selfies were bad, just wait till you get a load of this new app that lets you take selfies with AI avatars based on people you know. The app, called “With Me,” was developed by ELROIS, a South Korean firm that specializes in realistic 3D avatars. According to the firm, the app was developed to let people share moments digitally with people who are absent—or even deceased.

If that sounds strange to you, you’re not alone. Admittedly, the inspiration behind the app is quite sweet. Eun Jin Lim, who works for ELROIS, said she conceived of the idea for the app after she had lost her own grandmother. “I had my grandmother before,” she told the BBC in an interview. “She passed away a few years ago…We didn’t have any pictures together, I cannot take a photo with her anymore so in that case in would be great to use our avatars.”

From a tech perspective, in order to use the app users have to have themselves or their friends and family 3D scanned. For now, the scanning will likely have to take place at a studio or in a booth, though ELROIS hopes that upcoming smartphone models will integrate the capacity for accurate full-body 3D scanning.

The app also uses artificial intelligence to bring the virtual avatars to life, which to me might be the strangest feature. In a video demonstration, the user tells the avatar he loves him to which the avatar replies “I love you too.” He also puckers up and the avatar motions to kiss him on the forehead. While I can see the selfies with avatars as providing some sort of catharsis for people who are missing someone in a particular moment, the added talking brings the app a bit too close to the realm of Black Mirror.

Still, the technology behind the app is pretty cool. ELROIS’s With Me app was recently presented at Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, located in Barcelona. Understandably, the medium-esque app drew a lot of attention, some positive, some negative, and most bewildered. Would you take selfies with a 3D scanned avatar of someone you loved and lost?

ELROIS is a Korean tech firm that develops solutions for 3D realistic media content. It’s three main departments include Realistic 3D, VR Play, and Ray3D.

Photos: ELROIS

 

 

Posted in 3D Software

 

 

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