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VentureBeat today announced Axum Graphics, 42 Chef AI, and Immersive AI Storyteller as the three finalists chosen to present their artificial intelligence at MB 2017, a gathering of tech giants and startups making AI and bots.

Hackathon and workshop coordinator BeMyApp organized the first leg of the competition, where more than 25 people joined in a 24-hour contest hosted at the VentureBeat office in San Francisco.

Judges of VentureBeat’s first-ever AI hackathon were VentureBeat AI staff writer Blair Hanley Frank and BeMyApp CEO Cyril Attia. Entrants were judged based equally on market potential, innovation, technical execution, and usability.

Finalists will be provided a booth at MB 2017, where attendees will vote to choose a winner. The winner will be announced during closing ceremonies of MB 2017 Wednesday and will get a five-minute demo onstage.


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Here’s a summary of the work of the three chosen finalists:

Axum Graphics

Axum Graphics wants to make 3D animation and VR filmmaking available to everyone, not just experts or people who are traditional storytellers.

During the hackathon, Axum worked on facial analysis for its Auteurist system so that it can match the lip movement of a digital avatar with video of a human speaking. TensorFlow will be used to train models to recognize mouth shape.

“We’re democratizing 3D graphics by making an interface that anyone can use and to speak up and start making film,” said Axum Graphics CEO Gareth Morgan.

Judges felt that Axum could help solve the problem of incomprehensible 3D animation tools by employing AI and cloud computing — and that a solution that turns a video recording into a speaking character is incredibly cool, especially if the team manages to get it working well.

42 Chef AI

42 Chef AI is a voice app that learns your favorite foods and the recipes to cook those foods. Using natural language understanding from, the voice app can sync with offerings from meal kit services like Blue Apron or take deliveries from the likes of Amazon Fresh or Uber Eats.

“Our solution is to create a smart voice application that’s personalized to know your favorite meals, then it follows step-by-step these instructions based on your command so they can go back or forward. It also sets up automatic timers on the recipes and helps keep your fridge stocked,” said team member Michael Morel.

42 Chef AI above all is meant to be an effective way to avoid having to put your messy hands all over your smartphone or tablet to finish cooking a meal. Personalization and knowing your taste in food is what 42 Chef AI believes will give it an edge over popular cooking voice apps from Allrecipes and Food Network. Judges felt a voice app that gets to know your taste and acts as your sous chef are marketable qualities.

Immersive AI Storyteller

People are bored in their cars while commuting. Why not give them an interactive adventure game to play out loud while they drive?

Immersive AI Storyteller will use natural language processing to combine audiobooks with adventure games. The Google Assistant software development kit will be used to put users inside the stories. The judges found this to be an interesting way to remake the choose-your-own-adventure games of the past, though it’s not yet clear if such a game can be safely played by both drivers and passengers.