At one of the U.K.’s largest technology festivals, top enterprises and startups are this week highlighting their latest innovations, hosting workshops and celebrating the growing tech ecosystem based in the country’s southwest.
The Bristol Technology Festival today showcased the work of nine startups that recently participated in a challenge hosted by Digital Catapult — the U.K. authority on advanced digital technology — in collaboration with NVIDIA.
The challenge, which ran for four months, supported companies in developing a prototype or extending an innovation that could transform experiences using reality capture, real-time collaboration and creation, or cross-platform content delivery.
It’s part of MyWorld, an initiative for pioneering creative technology focused on the western U.K.
Each selected startup was given £50,000 to help develop projects that foster the advancement of generative AI, digital twins and other groundbreaking technologies for use in creative industries.
Lux Aeterna Explores Generative AI for Visual Effects
Emmy Award-winning independent visual effects studio Lux Aeterna — which is using gen AI and neural networks for VFX production — deployed its funds to develop a generative AI-powered text-to-image toolkit for creating maps, or 2D images used to represent aspects of a scene, object or effect.
At the Bristol Technology Festival, Lux Aeterna demonstrated this technology, powered by NVIDIA RTX 40 Series GPUs, with a focus on its ability to generate parallax occlusion maps, a method of creating the effect of depth for 3D textured surfaces.
“Our goal is to tackle the unique VFX challenges with bespoke AI-assisted solutions, and to put these tools of the future into the hands of our talented artists,” said James Pollock, creative technologist at Lux Aeterna. “NVIDIA’s insightful feedback on our work as a part of the MyWorld challenge has been invaluable in informing our strategy toward innovation in this rapidly changing space.”
Meaning Machine Brings AI to Game Characters, Dialogue
Meaning Machine, a studio pioneering gameplay that uses natural language AI, used its funds from the challenge to develop a generative AI system for in-game characters and dialogue. Its Game Consciousness technology enables in-game characters to accurately talk about their world, in real time, so that every line of dialogue reflects the game developer’s creative vision.
Meaning Machine’s demo at today’s showcase invited attendees to experience its interrogation game, “Dead Meat,” in which players must chat with an in-game character — a murder suspect — with the aim of manipulating them into giving a confession.
A member of the NVIDIA Inception program for cutting-edge startups, Meaning Machine powers its generative AI technology for game development using the NVIDIA NeMo framework for building, customizing and deploying large language models.
“NVIDIA NeMo enables us to deliver scalable model tuning and inference,” said Ben Ackland, cofounder and chief technology officer at Meaning Machine. “We see potential for Game Consciousness to transform blockbuster games — delivering next-gen characters that feel at home in bigger, deeper, more complex virtual worlds — and our collaboration with NVIDIA will help us make this a reality sooner.”
More Startups Showcase AI for Creative Industries
Additional challenge participants that hosted demos today at the Bristol Technology Festival include:
- Black Laboratory, an NVIDIA Inception member demonstrating a live puppet-performance capture system, puppix, that can seamlessly transfer the physicality of puppets to digital characters.
- IMPRESS, which is developing an AI-powered launchpad for self-publishing indie video games. It offers data-driven market research for game development, marketing campaign support, press engagement tools and more.
- Larkhall, which is expanding Otto, its AI system that generates live, reactive visuals based on musical performances, as well as automatic, expressive captioning for speech-based performances.
- Motion Impossible, which is building a software platform for centralized control of its AGITO systems — free-roaming, modular, camera dolly systems for filmmaking.
- Zubr and Uninvited Guests, two companies collaborating on the development of augmented- and virtual-reality tools for designing futuristic urban environments.
“NVIDIA’s involvement in the MyWorld challenge, led by Digital Catapult, has created extraordinary value for the participating teams,” said Sarah Addezio, senior innovation partner and MyWorld program lead at Digital Catapult. “We’ve seen the benefit of our cohort having access to industry-leading technical and business-development expertise, elevating their projects in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.”