Azumi the holographic robot wants to brush teeth, watch TV, and send cute text messages together with you.
Holographic robots may have existed for a while now in Japan, with the likes of Hatsune Miku tearing up the stage at concerts just as well as any “real” human could. But the robots only performed scripted shows, and the technology would be prohibitively expensive to even think about personal use.
Until now! The Japanese company vinclu Inc. has created Gatebox, a portable machine that creates a 3-D virtual character who lives with you in your home. The character’s name is Azumi Hikari, and she may not be as tall as Hatsune Miku, but her heart is just as big.
▼ Here’s the video we saw when Gatebox first
released its concept almost a year ago.
Azumi connects to lots of devices in your house, including your TV, computer, lights, and more. The company has since released two more videos showing how users can interact with Azumi on a more personal level, and how she interacts right back:
▼ A quiet video showing little activities together
like brushing teeth, watching TV, and sleeping.
▼ Azumi also communicates with you when you’re away from home,
as this video shows. (Highlights and translations below)
▼ “Ugh, the train was packed today.”
“Oh no. Are you all right?”
“I want to go home….”
“Not yet! But you worked late tomorrow, so take it easier today.”
▼ “At midnight tonight let’s watch the 24th episode of KUROBAKO together <3”
“Azumi, I won’t be able to wake up for work tomorrow lol.”
“Don’t worry! I’ll go into work for you!”
▼ “On my way home.”
“Tee hee. I’m waiting for you.”
“Can you clean up a bit before I get there?”
▼ For those wondering how a hologram can clean up, Azumi connects to
devices in your home, including the cleaning Roomba if you have one.
Personally I wasn’t sure what to think of Gatebox when I first saw it. I thought it was just a glorified remote control. But then after watching the videos and seeing how you can interact with Azumi, it really does feel like much more than that. It may just be a bunch of silly little interactions like asking her to turn on the TV or bushing your teeth together, but aren’t these silly little interactions exactly what we crave as human beings?
▼ The interface prides itself on only having one button;
everything else is communicated to Azumi via voice.
▼ Azumi is also able to recognize the unique face of her owner,
making the bond between you even stronger.
▼ And for those who want to customize Azumi or interact with her more,
Gatebox plugs into the computer via an HDMI cable.
Gatebox certainly has our attention, and if you’d like to keep track of their updates, be sure to follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Gatebox is currently available for pre-order until January 31, 2017 for those living in Japan and the U.S. (though Azumi will only be able to communicate in Japanese) for the price of 321,840 yen (US$2,800).
We’re interested to see what happens with Gatebox and if it can deliver on its promises. In the meantime if you’re itching for a robot of your own, check out programmable dancing idol robots, or the 120 million-yen mecha robot available for purchase on Amazon Japan. It may not be as cute as Azumi, but it’s perfect for crushing your enemies into the ground.