Frepar Networks in Japan will be releasing an interactive 3D display called a “POD” in which a virtual person can “read” newsfeeds and other content to the user. You can actually engage in a discussion with the character using the SAMURAIPHONE. Plus the virtual person responds to touch and you can even blow on them and make it windy in there.
Virtual human (and potentially virtual pets) are coded into a “CODEC CELL” that is inserted into the POD. If you want a new character, get a different CODEC CELL.
An “Interface Station” allows the system access to network interfaces, digital broadcasting, and digital electronic appliances. The “Sub-Display” is used for to select the “feed” for real time display and to display information about the character (and advertisements). A “Satellite Dish” is actually a local wireless LAN station with an internal WiFi antenna. SAMURAIPHONE can be used to make free calls within the area via IP.
The “CMOS Camera Unit” is for user authentification and voice recognition. It can be combined with the Satellite Dish.
You can use the Material Transfer Fields MTF200 and MTF300 to transfer materials to the character (food, costumes, medicine). The MTF350 is also linked to the weight measuring and diet programs (you can put you character on a diet or fatten them up). Material transfer is done by scanning bar codes. Some special ones are supplied for clothing, but you can just go to your cupboard and get a scan of food and scan it. She will eat it if she is hungry. The virtual character can also teach you the English language. Some suspect other bar coded will be distributed via magazines and other means if it takes off.
The entire system is called a Sub-Spacial Communication Pod and is expected to be released by the end of 2007 for about $250 in Japan.
Microsoft will be using the system to supply product information support to its 2007 Office software in Japan.