The $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE aims to create an avatar system that can transport human presence to a remote location in real time. ANA stands for All Nippon Airways, the sponsor.
15 Teams from 8 Countries have been selected by the Avatar XPRIZE Judging Panel to advance as Finalist Teams.
The XPRIZE is a non-profit organization that designs and hosts public competitions to encourage radical technological development to benefit humanity. Their board of trustees include James Cameron, Larry Page, Arianna Huffington, and Ratan Tata among others. They were founded in 1994 by Peter Diamandis.
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The prizes are sponsored by an individual or company that puts up the prize money. As of January 2018, there are seven completed contests, eight active contests and one contest that has been canceled (the science got ahead of the prize goal.) The largest incentive prize of all time is the Carbon Removal challenge, at $100 million (sponsored by Elon Musk).
“The ANA Avatar XPRIZE can enable the creation of an audacious alternative that could bypass physical human limitations, allowing us to more rapidly and efficiently distribute skills and hands-on expertise to distant geographic locations where they are needed, bridging the gap between distance, time and cultures.”Peter H. Diamandis
Here are some uses for avatars:
Avatars Providing Care
Avatars could give the experience of your presence and care to anyone instantly, regardless of distance.
Avatars could transport critical life-saving skills in real-time to remote, disaster-struck areas where it is too dangerous for humans to go.
Experts can utilize avatars to provide unique services or rare trade skills for critical maintenance or repairs.
In September 2021, Semifinalist teams brought their avatar systems to Semifinals Testing in Miami, Fla. to be evaluated by the judging panel. Each team’s avatar had to demonstrate the ability to execute tasks across a variety of real-world scenarios, while conveying a sense of human presence for both the operator and the recipient in those interactions. The judges extensively reviewed the submissions and selected 15 Finalists to advance out of the field of 37 Semifinalist teams.
The ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finalist teams (listed in order of ranking) are:
- NimbRo, Bonn, Germany link
- Dragon Tree Labs, Moscow, Russia
- Team Northeastern, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
- AVATRINA, Urbana, Illinois, United States
- Converge Robotics, Chico, California, United States
- Avatar-Hubo, Las Vegas, United States
- Cyberselves, Sheffield, United Kingdom
- Team SNU, Seoul, South Korea
- Pollen Robotics, Bordeaux, France
- Last Mile, Osaka, Japan
- Team UNIST, Ulsan, South Korea
- Inbiodroid, Irapuato, Mexico
- Rezilient, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
- Touchlab, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
- AvaDynamics, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Additional details about all Finalist teams can be found here.
“The winning team will integrate multiple emerging technologies to develop a physical, non- autonomous Avatar System with which an operator can see, hear, and interact within a remote environment in a manner that feels as if they are truly there.”
Avatars are related to the metaverse, and may overlap with the ongoing research being done by Facebook/Meta.
So far, there doesn’t appear to be an XPRIZE winner that has dominated an area of tech, but it definitely spurs awareness and experiments, and new ways of doing things all the time. The XPrizes get people thinking about what’s possible, and gets them actively working on it instead of just daydreaming about the future.
What comes next should be truly amazing.
David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.