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State-of-the-art avatar technology behind artistry of FOX’s ‘Alter Ego’

Anyone interested in this technology should check out UConn’s Coding Bootcamp.

MANSFIELD, Conn – The artistry of Alter Ego – the new reality show from FOX Entertainment – has given a new twist to the contestants who take the stage.

Instead of being themselves, the participants enter the stage virtually and combine their voices with an avatar representation. The amazing creations are each designed with lifelike movements and their own personalities.

“I think this is a great man, I love Avatars and I think it would be really cool to see that,” said Vernon-based Avatar fan Joseph Derosa.

This cutting edge technology creates a whole new breed of competitor. The show is a long way from the dawn of virtual entertainment.

“The first avatars were just stick figures in an Atari game running through dragons and defeating them,” says Mike Maven, software engineer at AboutGolf.

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With the idea in mind of bringing avatars to the virtual golf courses he creates at AboutGolf, Maven explains how the technology increases the wow factor on reality TV.

“The interesting thing is that I think it kind of takes up the idea of blind audition like they wanted on ‘The Voice’, but it takes it to another level,” Maven said.

For people looking to get in on the avatar action, UConn’s Coding Bootcamp might be a good place to start.

“For this program we are teaching front-end and back-end, web development,” said Kylene Perras of the UCONN School of Engineering.

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The six month intensive experience provides students with skills that are key to the lives of these participants.

“Someone like our coding bootcamp graduates would develop the software that would read a person’s movements and translate them into motion for the character,” said Graydon Scates, coding bootcamp instructor.

It’s a technology that enables these artists to step up to the microphone without fear.

“The avatar enables the person to be a version of themselves that can somehow free them from other people’s judgments,” said Maven.

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Start Alter Ego on Wednesday night at 9pm. To learn more about UCONN’s Coding Bootcamp, click here.

Keith McGilvery is a presenter and reporter for FOX61 News. He can be reached at kmcgilvery@fox61.com. Follow him further Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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