AI-Powered Avatars on Display at Embedded World 2024

SapientX’s Vivian avatar can interact with customers, requiring no access to the internet to function

Ben Wodecki, Junior Editor - AI Business

April 9, 2024

2 Min Read

A California-based startup has developed AI-powered avatars businesses can use as staff to mitigate employee shortages.

At this year’s Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany, SapientX is showcasing Vivian, a digital human businesses can use to interact with customers.

Developed in a partnership with Intel, Vivian is designed to run using little computing power on little to no internet, making it suitable for use in kiosks and robots.

Powered by Intel's new neural processing unit (NPU) AI chips, Vivian understands the emotions of the person it is talking to and can generate contextually aware responses to queries.

Vivian will be on display in Germany at Intel’s booth on an 8k resolution display.

SapientX previously demoed Vivian with Volkswagen, showcasing how the digital avatar could help human sales staff answer customer questions about vehicles in a showroom or on a mobile device.

The startup previously developed other avatars for big-name brands, including Keiku, a TV assistant originally built for Samsung, and Hazel, a cat-like avatar designed as part of a Yamaha project to provide companions for seniors.

Alongside Vivian, SapientX has built avatars designed for specific use cases. Cassie was designed for use in health care settings and will be deployed in HealthPoint clinics in Texas, helping check in patients and process co-payments in both English and Spanish.

SapientX’s conversational AI software platform powers the voice and intelligence capabilities of its avatars and licenses its conversational AI technology to companies. The software accesses information online to answer questions and can also handle unstructured company data when generating responses.

Additionally, SapientX uses a computer vision-enabled camera so its system can identify people and objects in front of its characters.

The startup was founded in 2016 by three friends who wanted to “make a voice technology that could interact with users naturally like they were talking to their best friend.”

Two remain at SapientX. David Colleen is the company’s CEO and Bruce Wilcox serves as principal scientist. Maclen Marvit left the company in 2019.

Early versions of their conversational AI were used in the Talking Angela app for iOS, where users could interact with a virtual cat lady, according to the company’s SEC filings.

This article first appeared in IoT World Today's sister site, AI Business.

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About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Junior Editor - AI Business

Ben Wodecki is the junior editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to junior editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others.

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