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Expo 2020: Meet Albert Einstein and get help with your physics homework

Dubai - A Swiss company has created a digital twin of the Nobel laureate.


Anjana Sankar

Published: Tue 7 Sep 2021, 3:35 PM

Want to chat with the Albert Einstein and ask a thing or two about theoretical physics? A Swiss company is bringing the digital twin of the Nobel laureate to Expo 2020.

Throw all your questions at him and he will answer them with a poker face. But don’t let that fool you. The little genius can throw you off your guard by posing counter-questions to challenge you.

The digital avatar has been created by Animatico, an ETH spin-off to mark the 100 years of Einstein winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

The digital Einstein is currently placed at the main hall of the ETH University where Einstein studied between 1896 and 1900. It was known as the Zurich Polytechnic at the time. At just 17 years of age, he was one of the youngest students. He studied there for four years, focusing on physics and mathematics, but also taking courses in literature and history.

Sitting on an armchair with a bookshelf behind, the digital Einstein could be seen engaging with his bedazzled guests. He was taking questions and even dismissing some fake quotes attributed to him like.

“Most human only use 10% of their brain. Do you think this is an original quote? I have never said such a foolish thing,” said the digital avatar of Einstein while engaging with a young student.

The three-dimensional animated figure shows a younger Einstein to match his time in Zurich.

Riccardo Roveri, co-founder of Animatico, said the company wanted to create animated avatars of Einstein that can hear, talk and interact with people.

Roveri said they have used a complex algorithmic system and technologies like dynamic visualisation, speech processing, and intention recognition.

The screen and the comfortable armchair are also packed with technology. A camera scans the movements and reactions of the viewer while microphones filter out his or her voice from the ambient noise. Special software converts what is said into text, analyses it, and generates a suitable response — all in real time.

For ETH, Einstein is their most famous alumnus. He is portrayed extensively on the university’s website and a dedicated Einstein tour is available for visitors. Many of his documents are kept in the ETH Library archives.

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