Since Amazon Alexa released in 2014, I've wondered how to take its amazing AI to even greater heights. A few years ago, I saw an interesting article about a fully animated AI character that you interact with on a screen. There’s so much more to a human interaction than voice – what if, when we talk to Alexa, we can actually interact with a character?
My product aims to add heightened emotive feedback to AI technologies like Alexa through a projected 3D character inside a glass tube. The concept of living at home with an intelligent digital character is almost a reality. I designed a light projection system that displays AI characters at the right aspect ratio for a curved surface. The light comes out from the projector and reflects off a mirror, eventually projecting to the screen in the tube:
Then I designed a character named "Yuki" and created a 3D model of the her to make her look more realistic in the tube later.
I also created the parts of the machine using the CNC cutter.
After finishing the physical machine, I used Unity, a game software, to program the AI. Still a novice in computer science, I only programmed a short dialogue with voice recognition code and recorded responses. Nevertheless, I was thrilled when "Yuki" communicated with users: