Let your 3-D Avatars read your emails and even play PC games!


Singapore, 6 April 2001 – For the first time ever in Singapore, you can now have a full-body 3-D image of yourself displayed on your desktop, thanks to a 3-D image scanning booth, called the Avatar Booth, brought in by StarHub Internet for a limited time only.


The Avatar Booth will be open to the public for free trials at the atrium of The Heeren Shops from this Sunday, 8 April 2001 to Friday, 20 April 2001, 11am-9pm daily. All it takes is 5 minutes in the Avatar booth to capture a full-body, photo-realistic image, called Avatars, of you into the database using the latest technology developed by British Telecom’s (BT’s) research and technology arm, BTexact. (limited to one Avatar per person).


The public can then view or play games with their Avatars on the demo PC stations provided at the venue. The Avatar can also be used in conjunction with other free tools such as the Avatar Viewer (allows you to view your Avatar) and the AvTalk (email application which allows the Avatars to read out emails).


However, only StarHub Internet subscribers will be able to download their Avatars onto their personal computers with a personal login code provided to them. (Registration counters will be available at the venue for those who wish to sign up for StarHub Internet's attractive Internet packages such as the Infinity Access Plan, the most competitive unlimited surfing plan in town for just S$19.95/mth.)


In addition to the Avatar Viewer and the AvTalk, StarHub Internet’s existing and new subscribers can also use the free software available at the AvatarMe website (www.avatarme.com) to convert their Avatars for use in games such as Quake 3 and The Sims.


"StarHub Internet has always believed in providing innovative solutions that bring value to our customers, apart from our best value Infinity Access plan that provides our customers unlimited surfing hours at the lowest monthly fee in town. With the Avatar booth, our subscribers can now use their Avatars for hours of sheer fun and entertainment in computer gaming applications or even just to listen to their mails read out by their Avatars," said Mr Kyong Yu, General Manager of StarHub Internet.


The Avatar Technology By BTexact

The BT Avatar project is a joint venture between BTexact (the research and technology business subsidiary of StarHub's shareholder BT), AvatarMe and Televirtual. The technology is named after the word ‘Avatar’, which is said to be an appearance of a god in human or animal form.


Avatar technology offers a number of business applications that BTexact is developing into products and services for markets around the world, including Asia. These applications include virtual conferencing, by which an individual is represented by an animated avatar in a conference, plus avatar messaging for mobile handheld devices – adding another dimension to wireless communications.


Other avatar applications include animations, computer games and ‘avtalk’, an e-mail application that allows people to use their own image to turn e-mail from a text service to an audio-visual ‘virtual’ experience.


Stewart Davies, BTexact’s managing director, said: "This is a very exciting development for BTexact, the Avatar booths in the Talk Zone at the Millennium Dome in the UK proved extremely popular, with over a quarter of a million people scanning their images over a year. The Avatar has a number of commercial and entertainment applications and we are developing these now so that in the near future, avatar technology will be in wide use across the globe."


Dr Chris Fowler, who heads up BTexact’s Asian Research Centre in Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor, said: "Avatar is a fascinating new technology with a wide range of exciting applications, not just for PCs but for mobile communications as well. It is another example of BTexact’s commitment to developing complex scalable technology solutions for a range of different international markets."


The BT Avatar Booth was first exhibited at the Millenium Dome in London in January 2000 and had already gathered over 100,000 Avatars within six months of display. BTexact recently embarked on a series of roadshows to promote this technology and was most recently at the Britain-Malaysia Technology Partners exhibition held in Kuala Lumpur in March 2001.