Avatar technology could change the way humans across the world interact with one another. Using a combination of AI, haptics, robotics, and more, avatars could make it possible for us to transport ourselves to another place entirely, and feel just like we’re there.
Right now, 77 Qualified Teams from all around the world are working on unique solutions to make robotic avatar technology a reality as part of the ANA Avatar XPRIZE. Some teams have already made advancements with their systems that have allowed them to effectively deploy their technology in the field. A definitive step toward bringing more robots into society!
Currently, teams are completing their second round of technical submissions for evaluation by the Judging Panel, who in April 2021 will select the teams that will advance to Semifinals Testing in Fall 2021.
While we await the announcement of Semifinalist Teams, we invite you to get to know some of the competitors through a special series of Meet the Teams interviews! With the global travel barrier that is the pandemic, we caught up with a handful of the Qualified Teams over a series of webinars. But we’re hoping that, in the future, some of them will be able to send their avatars over to XPRIZE HQ to give a presentation instead.
Below, the ANA Avatar XPRIZE operations team talks to the competitors about everything from space robotics to prosthetics to remote shaving.
Hailing from The Netherlands, i-Botics is a consortium of six organizations across Europe: University of Twente, Halodi Robotics, TNO, ETH Zurich, Haption, and Sensiks. In the webinar below, they tell us about how their exciting collaborative approach has helped them problem solve, and the two-decade build-up to their entry in the competition.
GITAI is one of fourteen teams we have competing from Japan. They’re a small but exciting space start-up company from Tokyo that, in addition to participating in the competition, are working on sending robotic equipment to the moon! Here we talked to them about G1 – the model they’re working on as part of the competition.
This university-based team is from Pisa, Italy, and part of the Human-Robot Interaction research group at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, with a history of special expertise in exoskeleton haptic interface teleoperations. Team Sant’Anna is borrowing technology from the cutting edge of prosthetics to apply this to their avatar. Check out the robot they currently have in development below.
Avatar Quest is a high school team from The Quest Institute in San Jose, California. This is not Avatar Quest’s first rodeo – they are a previous XPRIZE competitor and were the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE $1M NOAA Bonus Prize Winners. “After that, the [students'] interest in being on a team was off the charts… so we saw this as a great educational activity,” explains the team leader and Quest Institute CTO, Danny Kim. 24 students are collaborating on the team’s avatar, which they tell us more about in the webinar below.
From Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Team Northeastern comes from the Northeastern University Institute of Experiential Robotics. Peter Whitney, faculty at Northeastern, garnered attention for his remote shave in summer 2020. Here, we chatted with the team leaders and core members about what makes their team's approach distinct and why they're pursuing telepresence technology. As they put it: “How many times over the last six or seven months [of the pandemic] have you thought ‘I wish I had a remote avatar that could do my job from far away’?”
Wonder how avatar tech will help us break down the barriers of time, space and cultural differences, creating a more connected world? With insight from ANA Avatar XPRIZE Judge Dilip Patel, read how here.