Audio Metaverse Inc. Launches Sound-Based Virtual World Platform Cubemint
Japanese voice tech startup Doki Doki has introduced a sound-only version of the immersive virtual worlds referred to as the metaverse and rebranded itself as Audio Metaverse Inc. to cement its new focus. The platform, named Cubemint, offers a hearing-based augmented reality experience, which the company pitches as an accessible alternative to the more visual-heavy metaverse platforms for those with impaired eyesight.
Social Audio Metaverse
The audio metaverse centers the idea of an immersive virtual world on what people can hear. The sonic augmented reality creates the illusion of inhabiting a different space, but without the need for a headset, just earbuds. Before Doki Doki renamed itself to Audio Metaverse, it was best known for its Dabel social audio app, whose 80,000 users almost all had some form of visual impairment. Leveraging what they learned from Dabel, Doki Doki sought to evolve social audio into a more comprehensive experience. The startup described the audio metaverse as the natural evolution of social audio when considering accessibility. After experimenting with audio NFTs last year, the company applied for an Audio Augmented Reality patent. The Cubemint platform is the result. Sound designers and early-access users are now refining and improving the “Cubes” of virtual space, as the company calls each 10 square-meter space.
“The Cubes are created utilizing Spatial Audio to create a deeply immersive experience, where you can really feel like you’re with your friends exploring a dynamic space together, some with mysterious creatures moving around on their own,” Audio Metaverse marketing manager Benton Nilson explained in a blog post. “You’re free to move around within the Cube, get closer to the creatures and friends you want to talk to or go away and get a little quiet time for yourself.”
Audio Metaverse Inc. sits at the center of several audio and AI trends. The massive popularity of social audio apps like Clubhouse, even if partly or mostly fueled by pandemic isolation, still held a lot of lessons for future audio interaction platforms. And audio is clearly a key element for any metaverse project. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made that clear recently when demonstrating a new tool to design and build whole virtual worlds with voice commands. AI-powered audio, whether a voice assistant or just reacting to a user moving around through the audio metaverse, also opens up the virtual space to people with visual impairments, making them accessible in a way that would be impossible otherwise.
“One of the biggest challenges the metaverse faces today is inclusivity and accessibility,” Audio Metaverse CEO Takahito Iguchi said. “We are taking our experiences with visually impaired users with us to turn Cubemint into an audio metaverse space accessible to everyone and that ultimately eliminates loneliness and isolation.”