Lenovo Demos AI Avatar: Assistive Communication Tech for People with Degenerative Diseases

Lenovo Demos AI Avatar: Assistive Communication Tech for People with Degenerative Diseases
Image Credit: Lenovo

A lifelike avatar that mirrors the voice, mannerisms, and personality of a young woman with ALS was demoed earlier today at CES 2024. The AI-powered avatar is the result of an ambitious partnership between global tech leader Lenovo, AI startup DeepBrain AI, and the non-profit Scott-Morgan Foundation—aiming to improve assistive communication solutions for people with severe disabilities.

Crafted using DeepBrain's cutting-edge generative AI and extensive full-body video capture, the hyper-realistic digital avatar preserves 24-year-old Erin Taylor's essence with 96% accuracy.

When Taylor was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2023, the Foundation invited her to help pilot a proof of concept for next-generation assistive communication tools. Lenovo, recognizing potential to transform outcomes through AI video synthesis, approached DeepBrain AI as an ideal partner with proprietary generative AI capabilities.

Sponsored by Lenovo, DeepBrain’s team digitally captured comprehensive footage of Taylor and constructed an AI avatar with startling verisimilitude. “This is a fantastic example of the untapped potential of generative AI to empower individuals and build a more inclusive future,” says Lenovo’s Scott Tease.

To complement DeepBrain’s hyper-realistic avatar, Lenovo AI researchers developed a predictive text prototype to accelerate communication when typing or voice tech isn't feasible. This AI assistant runs fully offline to maximize speed, accuracy and reliability.

Unlike most predictive text with one suggestion, it provides multiple options after each character input - uniquely tailored to individual needs. Lenovo plans to integrate this capability into the Scott-Morgan Foundation’s integrated communications platform, alongside the avatar, circular gaze-tracking keyboard and other multimodal interfaces.

For Taylor, the solution provides hope amidst devastating loss of physical function. "The avatar is incredible, but what matters most is that this technology could help change lives of more people facing ALS or other diseases - a way of showing how bright the future can still be."

Andrew Morgan reinforces Taylor’s outlook and the Foundation’s driving purpose: “I have no doubt this pioneering proof of concept will one day help shape even more staggering innovations. We’re making the dream of technology and AI ensuring a right to create, connect and live joyfully into reality.”

Chris McKay is the founder and chief editor of Maginative. His thought leadership in AI literacy and strategic AI adoption has been recognized by top academic institutions, media, and global brands.

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