ObEN, an artificial intelligence (AI) innovator focused on voice and speech, has been selected by HTC’s Vive X Accelerator Program as part of its $100 million fund’s inaugural class.

Founded in 2014, ObEN’s proprietary technology personalizes the voices of virtual characters with the user’s own voice in various virtual reality (VR) environments. “Our most compelling experiences are those that prioritize human interaction. For technology, perfecting voice humanization is the final frontier,” Nikhil R. Jain, CEO and co-founder of ObEN.

ObEN’s mission is to amass the world’s largest human voiceprint bank and become the voice engine providing the last mile solution for Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, games, entertainment, education, healthcare, and other sectors. Our company’s artificial intelligence technology enables any IoT or virtual character to speak or sing in any voice and language. With just two minutes of speech, users can create their digital voice and enable it across all speaking and singing devices and applications.

Like a fingerprint, everyone has a distinct voiceprint. ObEN’s A.I. technology builds a person’s own digital voiceprint using deep learning that can be predicted and applied to any new content. Until now, the creation of customized voice was limited to the select few and took place in a professional studio, where a celebrity or voice over actor would record their speech for days, weeks or months. With ObEN’s technology, infinite material is possible in mere minutes and for the first time, personalized voice is available to everyone. Imagine a GPS speaking in the voice of your child or audiobooks read in your mother’s voice. This also creates opportunities for fans to engage with their favorite celebrities in unprecedented ways. Fans can now set off on a virtual adventure with their favorite personality narrating every step of the way. Parents can delight their children with a personalized happy birthday message from their beloved Disney character. And the opportunity to perfectly sing a duet with your favorite pop star is easily achievable in VR with ObEN.

Consumer electronics giant HTC is betting big on VR. Earlier this year, HTC announced two monumental initiatives to accelerate the growth of the global VR ecosystem. First was the launch of Vive X in April, followed by last month’s announcement of the formation of the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA), which brings together top VR investment firms with a combined $10B in deployable capital.

Yet the biggest news came out of events today, at the ChinaJoy Conference in Shanghai when HTC announced the first cohort of startups for Vive X. Narrowed down from a pool of nearly 1200 applicants from 30+ countries, ObEN has been selected to join the inaugural class of Vive X, sharing this distinction with just 32 other startups!  ObEN is honored to join Vive X and receive the support of HTC, a pioneer and market leader in the VR industry. “Voice is a fundamental part of our identity. It’s what separates humans from machines,” said Adam Zheng, COO and co-founder of ObEN. ObEN unlocks the power of the human voice, bridging the gap between technology and humanity.

ObEN is also working with select developers for providing access to its SDK for innovative applications in the VR, Robotics and IoT space. Interested developers can sign up here: http://www.oben.me/sign-up/developers/

About the Author: Sho Guo is Director of Marketing at ObEN

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ObEN is an artificial intelligence company that creates complete virtual identities for consumers and celebrities in the emerging digital world. ObEN provides Personal AI that simulates a person’s voice, face and personality, enabling never before possible social and virtual interactions. Founded in 2014, ObEN is a Softbank Ventures Korea and HTC Vive X portfolio company and is located at Idealab in Pasadena, California.