Gatebox, Japan’s Answer to Echo, Makes Sure You’re Never Lonely

Amazon Echo promises to make home management easy with voice controls for light, music, and more. But what if you want something with a little more personality? Gatebox has you covered.

 

 

She may look like a Vocaloid trapped in a coffee maker, but the holographic AI of Gatebox appears to have a little life of her own. In addition to keeping you updated on the weather and controlling any “smart” devices around your home, she’ll also chat with you via text and react to voice chat.

 

 

The AI, named Hikari Azuma, is described as a 20-year-old housewife who loves anime, donuts, and cooking fried eggs for her husband (that’s you, incidentally). The site claims that, as you spend more time with her, she’ll adapt to your daily schedule. She’s voiced by rookie voice actress Yuka Hiyamizu and designed by Love Plus artist Tarou Minoboshi.

 

And by the looks of things, Hikari won’t be your only option. The site lists her as the “first” AI, and there are a few images showing her with another futuristic-looking girl named Akari. The product website also shows a few other potential designs. So it seems that, if Gatebox is successful enough, you’ll have your choice of AI partners — no word yet on whether they’ll all be female, though.

 

Gatebox, Japan's Answer to Echo, Makes Sure You're Never Lonely

 

Preorders are open from now until January 31, but companionship isn’t cheap — the Gatebox will cost you 298,000 yen (just over $2,500). At the moment, it is only available in Japan and the US, and only 300 units are available. They will ship out starting in December 2017.


Source: @mochi_wsj


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Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, runs social media and interviews for (Re)Generation Who, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.