Digital Einstein to mesmerise visitors at Swiss Pavilion - GulfToday

Digital Einstein to mesmerise visitors at Swiss Pavilion

ETH-Zurich

The photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

Inayat-Ur-Rahman, Business Editor

A ‘digital Einstein’ made by experts at ETH Zurich, would be exhibited at the Swiss Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai to mesmerise thousands of visitors at the mega event.

Visitors at the Swiss Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai will have a chance to interact with the ‘young’ Einstein. The great scientist’s ‘twin’ will use the power of AI to talk to the public.

Artificial intelligence and sustainability are key themes for graduates, with some projects due to be showcased in Dubai South when Expo 2020 kicks off on Friday.

Visitors at the Swiss Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai will have a chance to interact with the ‘young’ Einstein. There may not be enough time to learn about the general Theory of Relativity or how space and time are inextricably connected, but the idea of interacting and bantering with a genius and cultural icon will definitely be worth it. One can also pick a thing or two of his wit and light-hearted humour, while marvelling at his digital ‘hairstyle’!

In 1921, Albert Einstein won a Nobel Prize for his contributions to theoretical physics. A century on, his work will be commemorated with the interactive animation at the Swiss Pavilion to mark his time at ETH Zurich.

“Digital humans like Einstein who can hear, see and interact with the person in front of them are driven by complex algorithmic systems,” said Christian Schuller. He is one of three founders of Animatico, a Swiss tech start-up that has developed the ‘digital twin’ at the university ready for its Expo debut next month.

Einstein’s appearance is modelled on how he looked during his formative years in Zurich. The technology uses natural language processing and digital rendering of expressions and body language to bring the young Einstein to life.

The animated twin may not offer answers to the meaning of life, but it will respond to thousands of potential questions from visitors at the gateway to the Swiss Pavilion.

Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect” in 1921. To mark the 100-year anniversary of Einstein receiving the Nobel Prize, the idea came about to bring ETH’s Zurich’s most famous alumnus back to life in digital form.

The digital twin is as communicative as the original Einstein. “Digital humans like Einstein who can see, hear and interact with the person in front of them are driven by complex algorithmic systems,” says Christian Schüller, one of the three founders of Animatico. Key technologies include natural-language processing and dynamic rendering of the individual’s expressions and body language. For the artistic 3D modelling, the creators deliberately opted for a younger Einstein, as he was when he lived in Zurich.

Einstein entered ETH, which was then known as the Zurich Polytechnic, in October 1896. He was only 17 then and was one of the youngest students there. He studied in Zurich for four years, focusing on Physics and Mathematics, but also took courses in Literature and History.

The Swiss pavillion at Expo 2020 in Dubai is trying to answer this question through Einstein himself, by featuring a digital twin of the late German physicist. Capable of smart interactions thanks to the power of AI, the virtual rendition of a young Albert Einstein, comes with another layer of authenticity added by natural language processing and accurate recreation of gestures as well as facial expressions.

In addition to the computer generated genius, that is programmed to answer thousands of questions from curious minds, the Swiss pavillion also has mechanisms for futuristic farming. Among other feats of researchers from the country, a project in collaboration with Google Earth to assess damage to the environment via satellite imaging, will also be on display.


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