Concept video, keep in mind. Japanese startup Gatebox created the world’s first holographic assistant. The assistant, a friendly girl names Azuma, can greet you, respond to your needs, and control the IoT-connected devices in your home. It is expected to hit market this year. (video and images via Gatebox)
If you want to feel like Gru from Despicable Me and commission minions to do your bidding, Japanese startup Gatebox will help you do that. The company recently released a video of a holographic assistant prototype that is expected to hit market this year. It is the first of its kind in the world.
The world’s first holographic assistant came to be when Gatebox designers decided to bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds. On the company’s website, the startup says its members grew up with animates heroes, and gained strength from digital characters during times of need. To truly bring those characters to life, the company decided to bring the characters one dimension closer through holograms.
(I suppose this is the ultimate goal...)
Currently, Gatebox features one such animated character named Azuma Hikari. The blue-haired girl has real personality, and is programmed to mean well, but make mistakes occasionally (after all, no one is perfect – not even fictional characters). According to the company site, it seems additional characters might come down the road, but for now Azuma will be your assistant to help you through your daily tasks... most days.
Since this is the first innovation of its kind, Gatebox has its lips sealed regarding the specifics of the technology. Here’s what we do know: the invention uses a three-dimensional projection technique to bring Azuma to life and make the user feel as if he or she is interacting with a real personality. Gatebox also said the device is equipped with sensors, allowing Azuma to follow your movements and address you face-to-face by analyzing your position around your home. This way, you can program her to execute specific tasks based on your gestures and movements.
Azuma will be a more advanced version of Amazon Echo’s Alexa. Like Alexa, Azuma will be able to connect to your other Internet of Things (IoT) devices and control them based on your preferences. Unline Alexa, however, Azuma will be able to rely on gesture and motion sensing to give you the comforts of home, without you asking. For example, if you’d like for your TV to be turned on when you sit on the couch, but to be turned off when you walk into a different room, you can program Azuma to execute those tasks. She isn’t perfect, but the attempt is something more than competing technologies can do presently.
Azuma will launch on crowdfunding sites in Japan this year. Gatebox has not disclosed whether or not it will be able to sell Azuma in other countries, or ship internationally, but it is working on it. Because of the interest and demand people have shown so far, Gatebox made an English site. On it’s website, the startup said it is working on programming Azuma to speak in multiple languages. We imagine if the language barrier is broken before the end of the year, Gatebox may figure out the shipping issues.
If you are interested in following Azuma’s journey to market, sign up for notification on Gatebox’s website. The retail price hasn’t been disclosed, but it is supposed to be competitive with standard PC pricing. One thing is for sure, if one company figured out holographic assistants, it’s only a matter of time before other companies figure it out. Keep your hats on, boys. There’s no more waiting for the future. We’re living in it.
Have a story tip? Message me at: