Russian engineers developed an AI based avatars app for old iPhones. Apple didn’t let it go live.

Ashot Gabrelyanov
Sep 4, 2018 · 5 min read
Margot Robbie’s Chumoji Pack

My name is Ashot and I’m the founder of “Chudo”. It’s a messaging app that uses machine learning technology to turn you into live animated characters that look like you, move like you, and emote like you.

We’re a US based company with a Russian engineering team and have been working on this project for the last two years. We’ve developed a proprietary technology that mixes human 3D face models with characters designed by our art team.

Take one selfie with the app’s camera and Chudo will generate more than 30 characters personalized to you. Each set of avatars is unique to the individual user.

Kendall Jenner’s Chumoji pack

Chudo doesn’t require an expensive depth camera, our app uses neural networks to animate characters in real-time.

Using machine learning technologies, we made avatars work on iPhone 5S and higher Apple devices.

Chudo’s in-app camera feature on iPhone 5s

Unfortunately, Apple won’t allow us to release this app because our app is

“Too similar to Animoji, which creates a misleading association with Apple products.”, — The App Store Review Team

I’m writing this post to make this situation public because it’s the only thing we can do.

But first I want to highlight just a few features to explain a bit about the product:

  • Chudo works on iOS and on wide range of Android devices including Samsung Galaxy S9, S8, Huawei Mate 10, Honor Play, Mate 9, Google Pixel, OnePlus 6, OnePlus 5, Nokia 8, etc. You can get the Android version here:
  • You can use personalized characters to broadcast your emotions in real time while texting with friends.
Chudo’s live emotions broadcasting
  • You can record animated 3D stickers to send in chats.
You can send live 3D-stickers with personalized avatars
  • You can use the in-app camera to create videos with your Chumoji and share them on various social media platforms.
  • All of this is made possible because we spent the last two years developing machine learning algorithms, collecting a dataset of 15,000 face scans of different races, ages and genders, as well as implementing and optimizing code for iOS and Android devices.
Our team spend over 2 years to collect data for training machine learning algorithms

We’re confident we’ve made a great product that users will love. We believe in Chudo because it’s fun, it’s something new, and because you don’t have to buy a new phone to use it.

We had been waiting for over a month for the App Store review team to release the app.

Finally, on September 1st we received an official reply from Apple.

An official reply from the App Store Review Team

This was very puzzling, as we feel Chudo certainly would not cause confusion with any Apple products. There are a few key differences:

1) Chudo is a crossplatformed messaging app with personalized animated characters. In-app chats let users express emotions in real-time while texting with friends. We didn’t find any similar functionality among Apple’s products.

2) Chudo doesn’t use any trademarks related to Apple: Animoji, Memoji etc. Our app is called Chudo and Chumoji is what we call our characters.

3) Unlike Apple’s Animoji we don’t use depth camera technology for facial expression detection. We are using our proprietary neural network based technology.

4) Our proprietary AI based technology builds personalized 3D avatars by morphing the captured human 3D face model with our pre-installed characters. As a result, users receive their own one of a kind set of characters — Chumoji. Each set of characters is unique to the individual user. Of note, none look similar to any of Apple’s Animoji.

Also we would like to point out that there are many apps in the App Store available that have much more in common with Apple’s Animoji than Chudo does.

Facehub app is one of them and is available for download in the App Store. Apple is taking the stance that this app doesn’t create a misleading association with Apple products, whereas Chudo does.

We have always considered Apple to be the most developers friendly company out there. All we want now is to share our two years of hard work with iOS users.

If you want Apple to release our app and try it out, please help us by sharing this post on social networks, with journalists, and with bloggers.

Our team believes that everyone has the right to feel the magic of neural networks and animation, even if you don’t have the latest expensive smartphone.

Ashot Gabrelyanov
, Founder

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Ashot Gabrelyanov

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