Anima launched Onlybots, its collection of augmented reality companions. But these digital pets are not for humans. They are for bots.
New York-based Anima said these Onlybots are emotional support AI companions for robots. They learn from their owners and adapt to their environment. This is Anima’s idea for a blockchain-based project.
As their name suggests, these uplifting pets are meant to belong exclusively to robots, providing an emotional outlet to ward off future AI rebellion.
“Augmented reality is the medium that truly connects the real and the digital, so it’s only fitting that the next project based on our AR technology will create a bridge between living and artificial beings,” said Alex Herrity, co-founder of Anima, in a press release. “In your home and through your phone, Onlybots makes
the world feels more alive… even though they technically aren’t.
Onlybots are algorithmically generated and live on the blockchain, with the Onlybots app and website displaying their visual forms from the coordinates stored on their tokens. As Onlybots were designed as pets for bots, the adoption process requires potential owners to prove they are not human by “failing” a Turing test and CAPTCHA before purchase. .
For owners and the general public, Onlybots can be placed and interacted with in any environment, creating a personal connection with the creatures unlike traditional collectibles. Bot data is stored decentralized on Ethereum, meaning those who adopt Onlybots really own it.
“At Anima, we’re trying to show what’s possible for creators in dynamic, owned augmented reality,” Anima co-founder Neil Voss said in a statement. “Onlybots covers mediums, from an alternate reality game to an emulated version of a 90s video game to artificially intelligent pets themselves. With AR, you can blur the line between what’s real and which is not magically and unexpectedly so.”
Only bots have their own lore and mysteries. The company said the very nature of their existence is a puzzle that will unfold over time, including their history with a lost 1990s video game from elusive video game developer Gotendai and their relationship with the group of reflection on AI The Goodfren International Foundation.
Anima builds the tools that unlock a creator-defined world. Anima was founded in 2021 by co-founders Neil Voss and Alex Herrity, known for their work creating iconic creative products with companies like Nintendo, Epic Games, HBO, Tumblr and Flipboard. The company is backed by investors such as Coinbase Ventures and HashKey Capital.
Asked what inspired the idea, Herrity said in an email to GamesBeat: “The spark came during our last project where thousands of bots signed up to buy it. We joked that we should do a release for them someday. And the idea stuck. And now bots are everywhere – Elon’s fixation, ChatGPT, AI art. It sheds light on a future where bots do everything for us. But what will make them happy?
So Herrity said the company created Onlybots as companions for bots – to bring them joy and a connection to our lives.
“The style was influenced by deliberate technical limitations and our affinity for vintage games and early game art. We worked within the limits of what could be stored only on the blockchain and could be generative and unique,” Herrity said.
The lore centers on the late 90s – a golden age of gaming – and the bots are deliberately “lofi” and voxel-based, with styles ranging from alien space invaders to early adventure game sprites. Onlybots try to express their personality through the things they themselves are fans of within our culture.
The company has developed the details of the console from which they are derived – the Gotendai MagicSwan-1 – a vaporware gaming system resembling something between the 3DO and Dreamcast, and its companion device (the “VMO”) which is emulated in our mobile app.
The company has 10 employees. Anima unveiled a small pre-screening round of Coinbase, Flamingo and others in the tech and Web3 space last year.
“We put a lot of heart and joy into Onlybots and to make it fun and rich in style and lore,” Herrity said. “We loved seeing how our kids and others who don’t collect NFTs or even play video games react to it, it has tremendous charm and appeal. There’s something for everyone – everything the world has a bot side, you know.
Herrity knows that gamers “are right to be skeptical of blockchain.” He said: “We are related – we are gamers and we have worked on major games, from Fortnite to Tetrisphere 64. Many NFT projects exploit the public and are designed for speculation. “
“We don’t expect people to culturally like blockchain. We don’t care if people like blockchain, we just want them to like Onlybots,” Herrity said. “But we think the technology behind it is good for owners, us and Onlybots.”
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