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The Digital Pet Company said it launched AI-powered 3D digital dogs as metaverse companions.
The dogs are secured in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which can be used to authenticate unique digital items. It’s the antidote to NFT chats, which another gaming startup, Tiny Rebel Games, announced in March with the aim of creating digital chats. Both companies are confident that the concept of Nintendogs will work well with NFTs.
To commercialize its technology, the digital pet company raised pre-seed funds from Outlier Ventures, Hawk Digital, MaxStealth and angel investor Rafi Gidron, who launched Chromatis and sold it to Lucent for $4.8 billion. The startup is in talks with other potential investors.
Continued interoperable state digital companions allow owners to interact with them, in virtual reality, augmented reality, mobile devices or web applications.
Combining artificial intelligence, extended reality (XR), and blockchain technologies, the company creates an ongoing mutual emotional relationship with a virtual creature through virtual environments, apps and games. Each dog is unique in appearance and personality, powered by the startup’s proprietary PetOS technology.
The company’s mission is to create realistic interactions using voice, visual and tactile communication so that people can interact with their digital dogs in the same way they would with their physical pets. They can name them, train them and play with other people and their digital dogs when they meet.
All digital dogs, along with their visual and personality traits, are secured as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. Each NFT will belong to a specific user’s digital wallet. The startup’s unique blockchain implementation allows users to care for the Digital Dog and train it with other users, such as family members and friends.
Just like in real life, a digital dog can be a pet or an office dog. NFTs are stored as ERC-721 tokens and hosted on the Interplanetary File System (IPFS). Each NFT is connected to a real Digital Dog via the patented PetOS.
Digital Dogs will be used in a variety of virtual environments in the Metaverse through the company’s proprietary software development kit (SDK). The Digital Pets Company will sell NFTs that allow digital dog owners to get to know and train their dogs through one-on-one digital interactions.
Owners will use tokens to train digital dogs by providing positive incentives, just like real dogs. The startup will develop social interaction in digital playgrounds where people and dogs can socialize.
“Over the next decade, we will see more and more virtual spaces where people hang out and create new interactions,” Itay Hasid, CEO of The Digital Pets Company, said in a statement. “These spaces will be very empty and lonely with no relevant content that connects people and builds meaningful social relationships. Dogs, being man’s best friend, make us happier and help us connect with new people. I believe that artificial intelligence, animation and multi-sensory communication combining voice, sight and touch will create real relationships, just like in the physical world, and meet social and emotional needs.
Founded in July 2021, The Digital Pets Company is led by dog-loving engineers and developers. The team consists of experts in artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality. Itay Hasid, who co-founded the startup with Maciej Miarecki and Amit Yogev, is a 34-year-old serial entrepreneur who founded the startups Mobeego (acquired by Life Clips), Kado and Qase, among others.
Digital identity is becoming more important than ever. Many people buy avatars that will represent them in online social experiences, dressing them in appropriate clothing and footwear to express the owner’s unique digital identity. Giant companies such as Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) even offer to create avatars that can guide users through different virtual worlds, in order to establish a unified and sustainable digital identity.
The Digital Pets Company has made the demo of the Laika web application available. Named after the first dog in space, Laika is the company’s first digital dog. As a proof of concept, Laika has laid a solid foundation for a living, self-taught new species, using speech AI, extended reality and blockchain technologies in ways that have never been done before.
In addition to Laika, The Digital Pets Company is currently finalizing the construction of its digital laboratory. The lab is a unique 3D virtual space that currently contains the first generation of Digital Dogs embryos. These still grow in incubators. Owners have access to the same space where they can watch the dogs develop as well as name them and train them soon.
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