On June 15, Tencent launched a digital lab jointly with Dunhuang Academy, a research institute dedicated to researching, preserving, and promoting the UNESCO world heritage site Mogao Caves. The lab will focus on developing Dunhuang’s official digital human Jiayao, building a digital replica of the scripture cave, and hosting live streams.
Tencent and Dunhuang Academy signed a five-year strategic cooperation agreement. The tech company known for its game-developing technologies will build digital caves based on historical accounts, mimicking the lighting and plants as well as recreating historical figures for audiences to interact with.
Notably, Jiayao, the digital human that Tencent made to represent Dunhuang Culture, hosted the launch. Enabled with motion capture and AI technology, Jiayao can demonstrate traditional style dances, broadcast virtual exhibitions, and promote the history of the Silk Road based on its knowledge mapping.
Tencent has previously collaborated with the Academy to bring mystical figures into its hit game, “Honor of Kings”. A popular Dunhuang-themed skin was downloaded by over 40 million players. In addition, the two jointly launched a mini-program inside WeChat which showcases interactive video tours of Dunhuang. The mini-program currently has over 11.5 million users, according to Tencent.
The tech company will also assist archaeological researchers on Sanxingdui, a site located on the banks of the Yanzi River with over 3,000 years of history. Via 3D scanning, tech specialists at Tencent will be able to use computer vision technology to help the “restoration of relic fragments and the digital reconstruction of their original forms”, per the company. With the cutting-edge technology, the excavation of Sanxingdui will become more efficient and accurate, while attending to the delicacy of each artifact.
Previously, Tencent has assisted the development of digitization for the Forbidden City in Beijing, which is the world's largest imperial palace, built from 1406 to 1420.