Lenovo, DeepBrain AI, and Scott Morgan Foundation Enable Communication Breakthroughs for Severe Disabilities with AI Avatars

11 January 2024 | Thursday | News

Unveiled at CES 2024, the surreal avatar retains the voice and personality of a 24-year-old woman with ALS, complemented by Lenovo's personal, on-device AI to optimize text prediction and output, enabling unprecedented communication and connection
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

At CES 2024, global technology leader Lenovo, the Scott Morgan Foundation, a nonprofit assistive technology organization, and AI-generated video innovatorDeepBrain AIhas unveiled a surreal AI avatar dedicated to preserving the voice, personality, and physical behavior of people with degenerative disorders. This groundbreaking avatar, created with DeepBrain AI technology and led by Lenovo, opens up new avenues for applying generative AI to accessibility challenges and helps advance Lenovo's vision of AI for all.

As part of our ongoing collaboration with the Scott Morgan Foundation, Lenovo proposed the development of AI-powered avatars that would leapfrog traditional text-to-speech and transform the way people with severe disabilities communicate and connect. The foundation piloted a proof-of-concept for supportive communication with Erin Taylor, a 24-year-old woman recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease that commonly causes general paralysis.

Lenovo is proud to announce the launch of Deep Brain AI, a leader in next-generation avatars and a partner of Lenovo AI innovators. to utilize the company's generative AI technology. The team at DeepBrain AI, backed by Lenovo, shot detailed full-body footage of Taylor in a studio in California. The footage, which will serve as the basis for her new AI avatar that offers 96 percent fidelity, was unveiled at CES 2024. Preview your avatar on YouTube.

"This is a great example of the untapped potential of generative AI to empower individuals and build a more inclusive future, especially with visionary collaborators like this," said Scott Tees, vice president and general manager of accelerated computing and AI at Lenovo. "By leveraging our extensive portfolio of solutions and in-house expertise, we are excited to reimagine what's possible and find opportunities to help solve humanity's greatest challenges."

Lenovo's AI data scientists have also developed a prototype of a new predictive AI tool that speeds up text input when traditional keyboard or text-to-speech techniques are not available, such as in patients with advanced ALS. This personal, on-device AI operates completely offline and leverages a compressed large language model (LLM) to provide the speed, reliability, and accuracy you need when communicating health information and other urgent needs. This follows Lenovo's October 2023 approach to hybrid AI, which operates across public, private, and personal foundational models.

Unlike typical text prediction engines, which provide a single candidate, this novel AI solution provides multiple choices after each character is typed to better assist the user.

The Scott Morgan Foundation and Lenovo's AI experts are working on integrating predictive AI into the backend of the unified communications platform unveiled at CES. The platform combines an avatar, an original circular keyboard optimized for eye tracking, and multimodal input that supports a wide range of physical abilities.

"Our vision is built on a commitment to ensuring the universal right to grow through technology," said Andrew Morgan, CEO of the Scott Morgan Foundation. "AI is accelerating the work we started years ago, and our amazing collaborators are helping to completely change the accessibility landscape.

At CES, avatars and related solutions were showcased using multiple Lenovo devices optimized for the flexibility and unique strengths to harness the power of AI. This includes the Lenovo Yoga AIO 9i premium consumer desktop PC running AI avatars and the high-performance Lenovo ThinkPad P1 mobile workstation running predictive text AI prototypes. The Scott Morgan Foundation's circular keyboard and Irisbond's eye-tracking technology were also tested by Taylor directly at home using a donated powerful and portable Lenovo Yoga 7i laptop. Lenovo also showcased a suite of consumer and enterprise technologies at CES dedicated to unlocking the potential of AI for productivity and play.

DeepBrain AI's avatar technology was originally developed to create versatile "twins" of generative AI humans and assistants, as well as celebrities, athletes, and other influencers, such as those showcased at Lenovo's recent F1 event. DeepBrain saw an opportunity right then and there to deploy its own technology as an assistive technology.

DeepBrain AI provided Taylor with complementary access to the company's AI studio, helping her create an almost unlimited stream of digital content.

"We're always amazed at how our partners and clients are coming up with new ways to use AI-generated video, and Lenovo has been a visionary and has shared their vision on how to implement this technology as a component of their assistive technology platform." said Eric Jean, CEO of DeepBrain AI. "Future developments in DeepBrain will make surreal avatars available to everyone."

Taylor was diagnosed with ALS in the summer of 2023 after her symptoms worsened in a short period of time. Her career, which had been involved in botany, forestry, and related work in nature, was abruptly interrupted, and she and her mother were confronted with countless questions about the progression of the disease. The shock was particularly great, as the disease mainly affects people over the age of 40.

"I was so shocked and at a loss that I am grateful that the Scott Morgan Foundation invited us to help create something new and shape the future," said Taylor, who lives in the suburbs of Los Angeles with her mother, Lily. "This avatar is great, but the most important thing for me is that this technology can help change the lives of many people facing ALS and other diseases, and show how bright the future can be."

"I have no doubt that this proof of concept pioneer will one day help shape even more astounding innovations," Morgan said. "Our foundation is built on the dream that technology, especially AI, can break down severe disabilities and guarantee the right to create things, connect with people, and live life happily.


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