Press Releases 2023
SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”), Keio Research Institute at SFC (“KRIS”), and O Ltd. announced the launch of a virtual campus for the Shonan Fujisawa Campus of Keio University (Location: Fujisawa, Kanagawa, “SFC”) as part of the activities of the “Digital Twin Campus Consortium” operated by KRIS. The virtual campus is now available on O Ltd.'s metaverse (virtual space) platform “MEs”*1.
SoftBank, KRIS and O Ltd. have been conducting pilot experiments since September 2023, constructing a virtual campus on “MEs” using map data provided by SoftBank and conducting lectures and other activities within it. This pilot experiment aims to encourage active student participation by allowing them to freely move around the virtual campus, attend lectures, and redesign buildings and class systems, thereby realizing a next-generation campus.
- *1“MEs” is currently available only to early access users. For early access registration, please visit link.
Keio SFC Virtual Campus Trailer
Overview of the Pilot Experiments
The following two demonstrations are being conducted:
1. Digitalization of the Campus (Construction of a Virtual Campus)
As part of the “Digital Twin Campus Consortium,” SoftBank has provided various data necessary for the digitalization of the campus, including 3D maps created from aerial photographs and point cloud data measured by vehicles equipped with Mobile Mapping Systems (MMS). In this experiment, these data were utilized to construct SFC's virtual campus on O Ltd.'s metaverse platform “MEs.”
“MEs,” provided by O Ltd., is a collaboration tool for the next generation of metaverse creation, allowing visualization of various data formats such as text, images, web links, and 3D objects on the metaverse. For this project, the world map feature of “MEs” was used to replicate objects like roads, trees, and buildings of SFC in the metaverse. Accurate scaling and numerous photographs, along with aerial photographs and point cloud data captured by SoftBank, were used for this replication, and O Ltd.'s 3DCG artist team modeled the buildings, combining MEs Engine and Unreal Engine to map the entire SFC campus on the world map.
Students, as users, can freely move around the highly detailed virtual campus and place their creations within the space. Creative initiatives, impossible in physical space, are undertaken in the virtual campus to observe the effects in the real space.
2. Immersive Syllabus
When conducting classes on the virtual campus, the syllabus (class plan document) is presented in the metaverse. This not only involves laying out the traditional syllabus in 3D textures but also creating an exploratory and interactive syllabus experience for students. This experience includes interactions with various information sources such as reference literature, readings, 3D models of projects, and videos of assignments. This creates a space where teachers provide information interactively rather than unilaterally, and students actively engage with new subjects, enhancing their enrollment motivation before classes begin.
About the “Digital Twin Campus Consortium”
SoftBank and KRIS have established the “Digital Twin Campus Lab” at SFC as a venue for research and development of next-generation information infrastructure using advanced technologies such as 5G and Beyond 5G/6G. Since October 2022, they have been working on issue identification and solution finding through interaction between the physical space (actual campus) and virtual space (digitized campus), research and development of self-positioning technologies, and more*2. KRIS expanded this initiative by establishing the “Digital Twin Campus Consortium” in July 2023 to realize broader collaboration with various companies. SoftBank continues its research and development efforts with KRIS and contributes 5G communication infrastructure, collaborating with other participating companies for new initiatives.
KRIS held a workshop on the “Digital Twin Campus Consortium” on October 11, 2023. For more details about the workshop and the consortium, please see the following:
- Digital Twin Campus Consortium Homepage (in Japanese)
- SoftBank Advanced Technology Research Institute's “DIGITAL TWIN CAMPUS CONSORTIUM 1st WORKSHOP Report” (in Japanese)
- *2Please see the press releases dated September 12, 2022, “Keio University SFC Research Institute and SoftBank Launch ‘Digital Twin Campus Lab’” (in Japanese) and May 31, 2023, “SoftBank Corp. and Keio Research Institute at SFC Commence PoC for the Advanced Operation of Autonomous Shuttle Buses Utilizing Digital Twin at Digital Twin Campus Lab”.
Moving forward, SoftBank, in collaboration with KRIS and O Ltd., will embark on research and development using next-generation communication infrastructure like 5G, aiming to build a high-definition, low-latency virtual campus. Additionally, the “Digital Twin Campus Consortium” will continue to conduct pilot experiments aimed at constructing campuses in digital spaces utilizing digital twin information sources.
- SoftBank, the SoftBank name and logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of SoftBank Group Corp. in Japan and other countries.
- Other company, product and service names in this press release are registered trademarks or trademarks of the respective companies.