9 October 2015

Digital Diva Keeps Her Mouth

Ava Virtue programmers win in Appeals Court

Federal judge Willard Li upheld a district court's decision against Russian pop star Valentina Markova, who sued ImageIn Software for copying the image of her mouth as part of the construction of the virtual singer Ava Virtue, ImageIn's major money maker. The court held that "while it is clear that the defendants used one or more of Ms. Markova's facial characteristics, the composite face cannot be mistaken for Ms. Markova by any reasonable person." The judge did overturn the part of the ruling that required the Markova camp to pay ImageIn's legal fees.

ImageIn, for it's part, claims it has been nothing but upfront about the matter from the start. "We never once claimed that we didn't base Ava's mouth on Ms. Markova's," said Jeff Johansen, founder and CEO of the company. "We are all huge fans of her work. But we created a composite character, and we're glad the courts continue to agree that it infringes on the rights of no one."

Ava split a headline last night with Japanese virtual performer Hatsune Miku. Unlike her more cartoonish (and famous) Japanese counterpart, Ava is photorealistic. The two haven't let that difference get between them—their combined tour, "Beings of Light", is scheduled to hit most major cities in the US and Japan, with a simultaneous finale in LA and Tokyo on 6 November.

During last night's performance at HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, Ava performed Markova's 2014 hit "Вечность (Eternity)"—ironically, with her permission.

Background links: 




29 March 2021

“Official” Rumors: Motorola EEG Phone On the Way

Dispatches has obtained a semi-official PR leak from a Google evangelist with some details on the long-awaited mind operated smartphone. The Motorola Psyche will be basically an upgrade on the Callisto X, which has been the workhorse of the Motorola Mobility Google stable since its release in the summer of 2019. The standard goodies are here: 200 GHz OMAP processor, half a terabyte of RAM with a 3 TB removable millipede. But that’s not why you clicked, is it?

Photo CC-BY-SA 2.0, Emily Walker

The semi-official word is that the Psyche’s headband was produced in-house by Google after it acquired MindOver, a Stanford University spinoff, in 2018. MindOver’s GENi mental interface system tested well, but was too clunky for the Goog, who spent two years shaping it into the headband that ships with Psyche. From the leak: “The headband that ships is wired into a port on the Psyche, with a Bluetooth option to become available in early 2022.”

Google will recommend that users spend about four hours a day for two or three days getting used to the headband interface before relying on it “in the wild”. The training requires users to sharpen their mental focus, using a poster-sized “target map” that contains the functions that can be accessed via the headband. The target map includes five speed-dials, the call function, the end-call button, text messaging, voicemail, map search, and web search. It’s clear that the headband interface will not replace voice functions completely, and an upgraded version of the Ami personal assistant ships with Psyche.

The headband works by measuring the magnetic field created by the brain, which it interprets based on feedback from the training modules the user completes. After ten hours of training, the system usually has an accuracy rate of about 94%. More training will lead to fewer errors, and Google testers have measured a 98% accuracy rating for at least one user, after several additional training hours.

The Psyche is scheduled to be available for preorder in May of this year and will ship starting August 2.

Background info: Mind Dialing from UCSD