Written by Rachel Chen | 3 min read

Joining the AI Revolution

Generative AI has forged its way into nearly every domain. From medical diagnosis to content creation, it is undeniably reshaping the way we innovate and interact with technology. And it’s no secret that building and launching generative AI programs is both easier and more accessible than ever.

With such an opportunity before us, how might we elevate the retail industry? This was our challenge in the recent Capgemini x Google Cloud GenAI Hackathon powered by Onova. 

Our answer? A fully interactive, multifaceted AI personal shopping assistant.

Clients Asked, We Delivered

Since the beginning of our partnership, our clients have expressed a keen interest in 3D AI Avatars, and so we listened and delivered. Enter RachelAI v1—the face of the GenAI Hackathon 2023. Welcoming users to the site, answering questions, and providing real-time guidance throughout the event, RachelAI served as an engaging and essential companion to our 1000+ hackers.

Combining stable diffusion, advanced voice synthesizers, and other generative AI tools, we proudly unveiled version 1 of RachelAI (based on me, a designer at Onova!)

It was a journey to get to our RachelAI v1, but oh was it a fun ride…

Taking it to the next level

Our mission didn't stop after v1. As organizers of the hackathon, we also wanted to join in on the fun and build a project within our team. We were set on taking RachelAI to the next level by making the tool fully interactive as a personalized shopping assistant.

In our startup environment, efficiency and productivity are paramount. Thus, we dedicated a focused 24-hour window to convene at our office and sprint the entire hackathon project. During this intensive sprint, we tweaked the stable diffusion model to enhance the 3D avatar's accuracy, built a NextJS frontend to showcase the sample website and chatbot interface, and connected a Flask backend that handles the AI features using Google Clouds’s Vertex AI chatbot API. We also integrated voice-to-text, text-to-speech, and real-time video streaming technology to create a truly immersive experience for the users.

The result of our improved stable diffusion model.

Want to see RachelAI in action? Here’s a video demo:

The Impact of RachelAI

RachelAI isn't just a responsive chatbot; The tool is an embodiment of what customer service can and should be. Answering in real-time, it provides tailored product suggestions, explains company policies, and provides relevant company information. Not only does it elevate the customer experience of any user, but it also redefines accessibility in the digital retail space. Equipped with voice-to-text and text-to-speech technology, RachelAI assists customers with visual impairments, those with limited mobility, individuals who are less tech-savvy, and anyone else who might find the conventional e-commerce experience inaccessible. 

This innovative approach to customer service has great potential. Personalized and interactive AI assistants like RachelAI can greatly enhance customer loyalty, retention, conversion rates, and overall satisfaction. And for businesses, this translates into a surge in revenues.

A World of Possibilities

Why stop at retail? RachelAI has the potential to transform customer experience across industries. Imagine a virtual financial advisor to help you with your personal financial decisions, or a friendly online career counsellor to help you find opportunities tailored to your skills, experience, and career goals. We've even had a major biotech client express their interest in utilizing RachelAI to provide personalized drug recommendations!

The RachelAI Retrospective

What did we learn in our journey with RachelAI?

  1. We are a team of sprinters. We understand the essence of time, we know how to prioritize, and most importantly, we take pride in our ability to swiftly bring ideas to life.
  2. We love going above and beyond. RachelAI's started as but a humble idea brought up during a client call. We seized the idea, validated its feasibility, and transformed it into something truly impactful.
  3. Generative AI is here to stay, whether we like it or not. The outcomes of this hackathon surpassed expectations. Given the myriad of brilliant and innovative projects that emerged from this single event, it’s safe to say that generative AI’s potential is far from exhausted—this is only the beginning. The opportunities are boundless, and it’s up to us to seize them.


Our experience with RachelAI during GenAI Hackathon 2023 serves as a testament to what’s possible in a short span. RachelAI's journey from 0 to 1 as an idea during this few-week-long hackathon is not unique: we’re proud to say that we have seen hundreds of MVPs and proofs-of-concept emerge from this event. 

Looking ahead, we can’t wait to see many such innovative ideas continue to push boundaries, and revolutionize both the consumer and working world.

Interested in seeing how we can support you and your business in your innovation initiatives? Book an introductory call with Victor Li, Founder & CEO of Onova.
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