Multimodal and Crossmodal applications: The new way to interact!

Understand the future of AI applications and how to move beyond a single modality.

Shubham Saboo
Jina AI


Generated by OpenAI DALL.E-2


Multimodal and Crossmodal applications are becoming increasingly popular as we look for ways to communicate with each other and share information more effectively. There are many different ways to communicate, and each mode has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, spoken language is very effective for conveying information quickly, but it can be difficult to understand someone who has a strong accent or who speaks a different language. Written language is more precise, but it can be slow and tedious to read large amounts of text.

That’s where multi modality and cross modality comes into picture!

What are multimodal and crossmodal applications?

Multimodal applications allow us to combine different modes of communication by taking advantage of the strengths of each. For example, we can use both spoken and written language in a conversation to ensure that we understand each other. We can also use visual aids such as pictures or videos to help explain something that would be difficult to describe with words alone.

Crossmodal applications are those that involve input and output from different modalities (e.g., visual and auditory). It takes the user experience a step above the traditional applications by using information from one sense to enhance another. For example, we can use touch to help us understand what we see as done in tactile maps or Braille text. We can also use sound to help us locate things in the environment. This is often done with sonar or radar.

How do they differ from traditional interaction methods?

Multimodal and crossmodal applications differ from traditional interaction methods in several ways.

  • They can use any combination of input and output modalities, including but not limited to: audio, video, and text creating a more holistic user experience.
  • Increased accuracy and precision due to using multiple modalities to input and output information.
  • Increased efficiency due to the ability to use multiple modalities simultaneously.
  • Increased flexibility due to the ability to use multiple modalities in any combination.
  • Increased usability due to the ability to use multiple modalities to input and output information.

What challenges exist with developing multimodal and crossmodal applications?

While multimodal and crossmodal applications offer many benefits, some challenges need to be considered are as follows 👉

  • Lack of design pattern for such systems. It is unclear how one should consistently represent, compute, store, and transmit the data with different modalities; and how one can switch between different tools.
  • Lack of tools and frameworks to develop multimodal and crossmodal applications with the unavailability of a standard data structure that can contain multiple modalities.
  • Multimodal and Crossmodal applications can be more complex to develop as you need to consider how to combine the different modalities in your application.
  • Multimodal and crossmodal applications can be more difficult to test as you need to ensure that the modalities are working correctly and that the user experience is positive.

To Get Started 🚀

To overcome the challenges of building crossmodal and multimodal applications, you can leverage products from Jina’s ecosystem that acts as building blocks for your applications:

  • A standard data structure for all data types, i.e. DocArray (also known as the data structure for unstructured data). It is capable of storing and processing multiple data types with the same ease as traditional data structure does for text data.
  • Reusable code snippets can be easily plugged into any application as Executors from Jina Hub.
  • With Jina, you get plug-and-play pipelines and a framework to uplift your PoC into a production-grade application. It lets you focus on your usecase and handles the rest.
  • Don’t worry about the hosting infrastructure. When you build with Jina, you can easily host your application in the cloud with a few extra lines of code via JCloud.

Bonus Resource ✨

If you don’t know how to code, you can still build sophisticated search applications using Jina NOW simply from your terminal. Here is the process in three steps 👉

Enter a few commandsLoad the Data/Choose the configurationGet the application!