Startups Tech News Avatars are coming to life with iOS app mai By Abhilash Thakur Posted on September 5, 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr With the introduction of emojis, digital communication changed forever. These tiny images, while they can be silly, are now a staple used to express our ideas and emotions when we are not face-to-face with one another. Author of The Emoji Code and linguist Vyv Evans explains, “One of the problems with digital communication, when it relies purely on text, is that this sucks out the empathy, the emotional expression, out of the communication. So it can lead to miscommunication…This is where emoji comes into its own. It puts the body language back in so people can better read emotional intent.” More recently, Bitmoji came into play, coined as “your own personal emoji,” where users can customize an avatar and place them in scenes and post to social media. But while Bitmoji is useful in bringing more personalization into digital communication, one company believes that this is only the beginning. Just launched this weekend, mai is an avatar-led iOS social networking app that brings avatars to life along with more diversity and expression than ever before. Much like Bitmoji, users can build their own avatars, but they are more true to form with a wider variety in skin color, skin tones, hair color, and proportions. Once created, users can then position, place, and resize their avatar on top of a photo, video, gif, or an illustrated background from the app’s library. mai’s game-changing feature comes with the choice of 120 different animated actions and poses to bring the avatar to life, along with the ability for users to insert audio from voice input or popular sound bites, which the avatar will lip-sync in real-time. mai creations can be shared on social media platforms such as iMessage, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and Whatsapp, but the app is also social network in itself. Users can view, like, and comment on their friends posts, share a direct or group message with their avatar and/or text in the mai app’s proprietary chat feature. The team at mai believes the app is poised to transform conversions on major social media platforms, especially as social media becomes increasingly central to identity for Millennials. Additionally, they expect the app to become a platform that “defines the modern social experience, especially for communities who are consistently under/misrepresented in digital identity creation.” Create your avatar by downloading the iOS app here.