With the largest segment of households (32%) being single-person, it’s safe to say that the Japanese may need to spice up their version of Amazon Echo with an actual character. That is exactly what they did – a 3D holographic one. Instead of speaking to a disc or digital box, whether that be Amazon Echo or Google Home, Japanese technology company Vinclu created Gatebox – a virtual home 3D hologram robot that automates your life and is designed for companionship.
Her name is Azuma Hikari and she has her own website. Lover of anime movies and donuts, her dream is to “become a heroine of anyone working hard.” She lives inside a glass tube, resembles an anime character, and is connected to your home network. According to her website, she’s 20 years old and can’t stand insects.
Gatebox can be positioned anywhere in your house – nightstand, coffee table, kitchen counter, etc. and with built-in microphones and cameras, Hikari is able to recognize your voice and face when you walk in the door from a long day of work. “Hikari,” meaning “Light” in Japanese, is a fully interactive 3D hologram that controls your smart home gadgets. Whether it’s turning down the heat via your Nest Thermostat or dimming your Phillips Hue Lightbulbs, Hikari is there to help. Whether you need appointment reminders or the latest weather report, Hikari works just like Apple’s Siri except that she comes to life as a 3D character.
From giving you the rundown on your Outlook calendar to reminding you of upcoming doctor’s appointments, Hikari is designed as a digital personal assistant. With a highly intuitive Android/iOS companion app, you can message her throughout the day to make sure she’s not cheating on you with the virtual pool boy. Kidding. You can, however, send Hikari messages via the Gatebox app – conversing with her whenever you’re away from home. “Oh sorry, I’ve got to take this – it’s Hikari.”
Vinclu plans to introduce a few new character options for those interested in a different 3D companion. The company unveiled a prototype with Vocaloid virtual singer Hatsune Miku as the Gatebox character but it has yet to introduce the singer as an option. Instead, those interested in buying first production Gatebox’s, which is limited to 300 units, will have to get accustomed to Hikari as their virtual partner in crime.
Gatebox’s Hikari only speaks Japanese at the moment and even though shipping is available in the U.S., once a pre-order date has been announced, Vinclu’s virtual companion is expected to fly off the shelves in minutes.