Edition 119

In this week’s Our Take, AI and gaming are helping improve speech and movement methods, a Gymshark collaboration celebrates diversity, a women’s body product brand has created a thought provoking board game and a skydiving orchestra does the impossible. Check it out below!

Deepfake tech – Real feels

A woman wears a sensor to detect brain activity
Image: Adobe Stock

With the help of video games like The Last Of Us Part II and Hogwarts Legacy, a paralysed woman has regained her speech and facial movement. Yep, you read that right.

Researchers have created a new brain-computer interface that combines powerful AI with the cutting edge animation software used in our favourite games, to produce realistic speech and facial expression in a digital avatar, driven by brain waves. In trials, a woman who had suffered a debilitating stroke was able – in a digital environment – to speak in her own voice, and with a range of realistic facial expressions.

It’s the sort of breakthrough that gives us real hope that despite all the concerns about deepfake technology, the AI revolution can bring some real good.

Some modest progress

a mural featuring fitness influencer Leana Deeb
Image: GymShark

Gymshark has unveiled a new mural featuring athlete and fitness content creator, Leana Deeb. It’s part of their Every Strong Belongs campaign, promoting inclusivity within the fitness community. 

Earlier in the year Leana removed all of her previous content and made the choice to change how she presents herself online to align more with her faith and religious values. She speaks openly about her faith and the importance of representation for Muslim and modestly-dressing women in sports.

The mural is gorgeous. Leana’s headscarf is made from real material and gives it a 3D feel that really pops. Secondly and most importantly, the mural is proof of evolution in the fitness industry, particularly for Gymshark who were once labelled as an exclusionary brand that championed and biased certain bodies.

We love to see it!

Playfully Navigating Womanhood

A boardgame called No Worries If Not

Billie are a women’s body products brand that make lotions and razors — so why have they branched out into board games? As part of their latest campaign, they have released a limited-edition board game based on the setbacks and pitfalls of daily life that women face.

The colourful and quirky campaign reframes ‘the impossible game’ women hate playing – the people-pleasing, overthinking, multitasking, over-apologising – into a zany, Monopoly-like adventure called “No Worries If Not”. The game encourages players to make power moves and stay on track while avoiding such pitfalls as: Judgment Junction, Self-Doubt Spiral and You Look Tired Triangle. The ultimate goal is to get to the fabled ✨Everyone’s Happy, No One’s Mad Land✨.

The kicker, of course, is that no matter how you play, there’s no way of winning. Because that’s life.

Want to try for yourself? The game is for sale here.

Musician: Impossible

A skydiver plays violin

When the words Tom Cruise, orchestra and skydiving all appear in the same sentence, you know something a bit tapped is about to happen. For the launch of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Paramount Pictures and Etihad Airways have collaborated on one of the most ridiculous and audacious stunts we’ve seen.

They created the Impossible Orchestra – a band of musicians who are also trained skydivers (they found four of them). Then, in a bizarre attempt to sell airline tickets, they kicked them out of a plane at 4,000 metres and had them play the famous Mission Impossible theme while freefalling at 200 kilometres an hour.

It’s beautifully shot, and great fun, but we suspect that the sound you hear wasn’t recorded live.

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