Tinson NGAI


Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, Hong Kong






The Impact of Metaverse and Virtual Idols Technologies to Teaching and Learning
Tinson NGAI


Virtual idols are not a new concept. The first generation of these artificial celebrities were developed for the ACG industry of Japan (animation, comic and games) in the 1980s. In recent years, the rapid advancements in social media platforms, Metaverse, cloud computing, big data and A.I. technologies, helps the development of photo-realistic digital characters to be applied in different areas to express themselves in more intimate, immediate ways and garner massive fan bases.
In China, the rise of Bilibili in 2020, a video platform that is favoured by ACG fans, stimulated the vast development and application of virtual idols on the platform. Based on the statistics provided by Bilibili released in 2020, there were around 32,400 virtual idols hosted livestreams on Bilibili in 2020. The people behind them are known as “Vtubers”.
Our project team has been investigating in the relevant field starting in 2020, and developed the Phase I virtual idol MetaHuman, supporting three distinguished characters, namely, IT Sarah, IT Hana and IT Sophia with Unreal Engine. IT Sarah and Hana are dubbed behind the scenes and captured in real-time, while IT Sophia is an AI chatbot.
With the enhanced experiments provided to the students through virtual classroom, workshop collaboration and project cooperation through the virtual idols, positive results have been found. The virtual idol project team therefore starts the Phase II focusing on the adaptation of AI technology which empower the virtual idols with higher degree of interactivity, content filtering and the latest advancements in natural language programming (NLP).

Keywords: metaverse, virtual idols, AR, VR, MR, XR NLP, artificial intelligence (AI), chatbot, google cloud service, Unreal Engine, OpenAI, Azure cloud service

Teaching and Learning
Terrsa Hall A