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Avatars: Bridging the Physical and Digital Worlds

1 min read · 1114 views Bong-Geun Choi May 01, 2023

One objective of the metaverse is to create immersive 3D digital worlds in which individuals may interact.  Truly realistic representations of humans in these digital worlds is needed to facilitate such an immersive experience.  Avatars look to fulfill that need.  As technology advances, so will metaverse experiences, increasing the demand for avatars with greater functionality.  What may the avatar of the future look like?


What Is an Avatar?

An avatar is a digital or on-screen representation of individuals in the virtual world.  It allows users of metaverse technology to depict themselves in digital worlds.


Ability to Customize 

Current technology allows users to customize their avatar, or the way they depict themselves online.  Options such as skin color, body shape, and hair styles are available.  Additionally, users may change the appearance of their avatars daily or based on situation, much like individuals in the real world would change clothes and looks for different occasions.


Thus, avatars allow metaverse users to depict and express themselves digitally.


Is Emotion and Facial Expression Next?

Metaverse technology is advancing, allowing for more immersive experiences.  Digital town squares are inviting more social interactions among metaverse users, gaming is becoming more interactive, and concerts and other entertainment options are being held virtually. Additionally, applications such as virtual workspaces, conferences, and meetings are facilitating more digital interaction. 


To facilitate more immersive digital experiences, avatar technology will likely evolve to produce more lifelike on-screen representations.


Meta, which was formerly known as Facebook but changed its name to match its metaverse aspirations, is working on new avatar technology that allows for more hyper-realistic digital representations.  It is using artificial intelligence (AI), sophisticated modeling, and electromyography to render human features and movement accurately in virtual space.[1]


Other avatar technology being worked on includes projecting facial expressions and emotional responses onto the avatar.  Technology companies are looking at ways to capture real-time facial expressions from a user’s camera and translate it onto the avatar.  These changes may allow for richer, more immersive metaverse experiences.


The Importance of Avatars

Avatars allow users to manifest themselves visually in a virtual world. Advances in avatar technology may allow for more immersive experiences.  One example is in a virtual workspace where more realistic avatars capable of expressing emotion and facial expressions may help to facilitate greater participation and communication, mimicking the real-world work environment more closely.


Avatars may also make users feel like they are truly present in the virtual world, facilitate greater interaction, and create fluid and seamless movement within and between digital worlds.


Improving avatar technology may facilitate a better metaverse experience.


[1] Cureton, Demond, The Role of the Avatar in the Metaverse, XR Today, 12/15/22; Greener, Rory, Meta Quest Pro to Leverage Interoperable Immersive Services, XR Today, 10/24/22


Bong-Geun Choi

Chief Economist


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