Major Japanese telecom conglomerate Softbank has collaborated with ObEN — the artificial intelligence company responsible for the PAI blockchain — to create a VR social platform, showcased at VR/AR/MR World in Tokyo this week.
Named EPIC LIVE PLAY, the collaborative project is a prototype app that aims to simulate shared group experiences in virtual reality. Users can pair an iOS device with the Oculus Go VR headset, connect with family and friends in a shared virtual environment, and even watch TV shows and sports games through the platform.
EPIC LIVE PLAY leverages ObEN’s Personal AI (PAI) technology — a platform that allows users to create their own 3D intelligent avatar that looks and sounds like them using just a selfie and short voice recording. These PAI are stored on the Project PAI Blockchain, ensuring users directly own their digital avatars, and are able to manage them on a secure, decentralized platform.
This, combined this with Salin Co.‘s VR environment EpicLive, and motion capture AI technology from wrnch Inc., allows users to interact in a VR environment as lifelike, digital versions of themselves.
In a press release on Wednesday, ObEN CEO Nikhil Jain described virtual reality as “an incredibly versatile platform that can transcend space and distance.” He continued:
“The technology depicted in movies, where colleagues all over the world can have virtual meetings as if they were in the same room, or friends hang out in a virtual clubhouse when they are hundreds of miles apart, that is what we are building with EPIC LIVE PLAY.”
The platform is currently in its prototype stage — avatars look a little “uncanny valley” — and was created as part of the third round of the SoftBank Innovation Program. The program aims to combine innovative solutions of other companies with Softbank’s own resources to create new value.