Perhaps one day, anime will be real life thanks largely in part to projects like this one from maker and developer Jess Peter. Peter is using a Raspberry Pi to power a custom holographic anime virtual assistant named Maria that’s completely interactive and 100% adorable.
This holographic virtual assistant features an original 3D design with animations that help bring her to life. Peter implements AI for voice recognition and programmed text-to-speech so Maria can talk back and forth with the user to help complete verbal requests and initiate tasks. Maria is still a work in development so functions are limited but plans are in the works to add more in the future.
Peter has provided plenty of juicy details about she works and how to set her up on your own at home. According to the project website, Maria can provide weather predictions based on WeatherAPI, set custom timers (yelling “Beep! Beep! Beep! when they go off) and even play music using the Spotify API.
This project is running on a Raspberry Pi 4B connected to a USB microphone for audio input and a USB speaker for audio output. The Pi is housed inside of a 3D-printed case fitted with a conical acetate sheet to give the holographic effect. A small, 3.2-inch screen is used to project the image with a resolution of 800 x 400px.
Diving into the software side, Maria makes use a Python server that constantly listens for audio input. Keywords are detected using Webrtvt and Deepspeech and used to determine incoming commands. The text-to-speech functions are handled using C along with Google’s text-to-speech library. A shader is necessary to warp the character on the screen so she appears correctly on the acetate cone. You can read more about the project details on the official GitHub page.
We find this Raspberry Pi project to be thoroughly impressive and implore anyone looking to recreate it to check out the official website where Peter was kind enough to share all the details you need to bring Maria to your home.