NTT Corporation (NTT), WITH ALS and Dentsu Lab Tokyo (DLT) demonstrated technologies from Project Humanity, an NTT-led initiative designed to enhance the quality of life for those living with disease and disability through the development of advanced communications technologies.
The demonstration occurred at the 2023 Ars Electronica Festival, an event celebrating art, advanced technology and culture held in Linz, Austria from Sept. 6to Sept. 10, 2023. It featured a live, virtual performance by WITH ALS founder and DJ Masatane Muto, who lives with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
Digital Avatars in the Metaverse
NTT enables individuals to operate avatars in a digital space by equipping their bodies with myoelectric sensors that track muscular activity, which is then converted into operational information and reflected in the free operation of the avatar.
In laboratory tests, NTT installed myoelectric sensors on the body (in two places on each of the neck, arms and legs) and confirmed the reception of data on body parts responsive to the will of the individual. Additionally, when viewed in real space, movements from subjects living with ALS were detected in distinct waveforms when viewed as myoelectric data.
NTT converts the sensed data into information for avatar operation and uses that information to implement the free operation of the avatars generated in the metaverse.
NTT is developing the capability to reproduce an individual’s voice from recorded audio by using speech synthesis technology. This technology enables communication in multiple languages while maintaining an individual’s unique voice.
Additionally, NTT is developing a non-verbal communications solution based on proprietary biometric transcription technology that enables speech through small movements.
In 2024, NTT aims to further develop its communications technologies to enable those living with ALS to interact without limitations more freely both in the metaverse as well as the real world, through robots. NTT ultimately aims to realize a future in which all people can interact with each other regardless of barriers caused by disease or disability.