Virtual b8ta

Digital Twin Shopping Experience, 2021

In this R&D project, we helped Toppan Printing and b8ta Japan test out IoA Shopping™ – a digital twin business model that enables remote users to switch between virtual and real shopping environments – by creating the Virtual b8ta proof-of-concept.

We created the concept, prototype, and UI for Virtual b8ta – a real-time digital representation of the actual b8ta showroom in Yurakucho, Tokyo – and collaborated with store employees to deliver the final PoC.

At Virtual b8ta, remote visitors can window shop with friends and perform various controls on their smartphones, from seamlessly switching between virtual and physical store views, controlling telepresence robots on-site, to interacting with sales representatives via video chat.

Virtual and Real-World Shopping

The IoA Shopping™ platform allows shoppers to switch back and forth b8ta's real and virtual environments: visitors can browse in the virtual store by using avatars and discover new items in the physical location by using telepresence robots.

Shop With Friends and Family

Groups exploring the virtual store can use avatars to socialise and engage with one another in real-time. We've included other features to enhance the retail experience such as voice chat and reaction buttons, which can be used to express interest or support for certain products.

Interact With Staff on-Site

By displaying both virtual and real store screens and using the voice and video chat functions, visitors can enjoy immediate and personalised customer service from staff on-site through the app as well as in-depth explanations of showcased items.

AR Product Visualisation

The 3D models of merchandise are robustly designed to be examined from every angle. Users are invited to learn more about products that aren't on display through virtual experiences.

AI Cameras That Recognise People and Robots in-Store

The AI-powered cameras installed at the actual store are programmed to help remote users see where the telepresence robot and other people are positioned in virtual space. This technology empowers the customer with real-time access to relevant information e.g. what products other visitors are gravitating towards or the whereabouts of sales representatives.


Client: Toppan
Project Lead & Creative Direction: Hisato Ogata
Software Engineering: Keisuke Oyama, Minoru Ito
UI Design: Riku Kawasaki, Minoru Ito
Concept Movie: Tatsuya Narita
Design Research and Concept Making: Keisuke Oyama, Minoru Ito, Riku Kawasaki, Tatsuya Narita
PoC Collaboration : b8ta Japan
3D CG Production : KAYAC

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