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Magic Leap’s Human Avatar

Avatars in Mixed Reality

Magic Leap, the well-funded mixed reality startup with headquarters in Plantation, FL, recently provided a glimpse into the future. While the demos were heavy on mixed reality games, including imaginary robots battling in your living room, perhaps the most intriguing segment involved Mica, the human avatar.

To see and interact with Mica, you first need to put on the Magic Leap One augmented reality glasses and associated gear. Once equipped, you’re immersed in the world of mixed reality, where you can view imaginary objects overlaid atop your real environment.

Call on Mica and she’ll appear sitting next to you on your sofa, or standing at the table. Mica appears remarkably real. She tracks your movements and can look you in the eye.

But Mica Can’t Speak (Yet)

What else Mica will do depends on the creativity of Magic Leap and perhaps third party developers. Her current capabilities are constrained. She can’t answer your questions like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. In fact, she can’t speak at all. The standard Magic Leap One headset includes eyewear only, no headphones. But that seems likely to change, especially considering a recent announcement about Magic Leap’s partnership with headphone maker Sennheiser.

At some point, augmented reality avatars such as Mica will almost certainly be capable of communicating with us via spoken language. Otherwise, what’s the point? Once that happens, the need to equip our avatar friend with good stories to tell can’t be far behind.

Avatars Telling Stories? Coming Soon

Magic Leap isn’t the only company that sees the promise of  human avatars. Another startup called Artie is apparently going down a similar path.

As we grow closer to the decade of the 2020’s, will mixed reality and human avatars become more prevalent in our daily lives? Or will hardware devices in the real world, such as smart speakers and social robots, win out over augmented reality? The question remains open.

Either way, Tellables and its network of independent authors are building a repository of conversational stories specifically designed to be told by devices (or avatars) that talk. Whatever comes next, we aim to have their stories ready and waiting.

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