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Friday, 25 February, 2000, 13:35 GMT
Virtual pop star's chart bid
Virtual pop singer E-Cyas
E-Cyas - "the world's first male virtual pop star"
E-Cyas, a European pop singer with a difference, is launching an assault on the UK charts in April.

Billed as the world's first male virtual pop star, he is described as a cross between Keanu Reeves, Ricky Martin and George Michael.
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E-Cyas has already had a Top 40 hit in Germany with the single Are You Real? which will be released in the UK on the Edel label.

He receives an average of 100 emails a day from fans mainly in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. His "Europop" sound is said to appeal mostly to a teenage audience.

Developed by German-based I-D Media, E-Cyas is an example of Avatar technology - which creates a 3D virtual being. His voice is a digital blend of several session musicians.

I-D Media's Rebecca Renfro is confident that E-Cyas is the first male singer, though there are already virtual female pop stars.

She added: "There's been a lot of media interest in E-Cyas in Europe and he's proved to be popular too.

Serious role

"The main reason we have E-Cyas is a way of advertising the technology that can be used in much more serious ways.
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"We're not far off being able to make it almost impossible to distinguish between a fake or a real person - some of the prototypes I've seen are really spooky."

I-D Media expect avatars to become part of everyday life - appearing as TV presenters, brand ambassadors, advertisers for products, online consultants and much more.

E-Cyas's designers began by building a complex muscular system in digital form. They then placed a skeleton underneath, before cartilage, fat and skin were added along with key elements such as the eyes and mouth.

Eventually, motion capture technology was used to bring the him "to life".

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