Siri, Alexa, Cortana – they’re just calming voices trapped in a boring-looking smart device. These home assistants lack a face, a body, gestures that could make the gap between humans and robots smaller. Azuma Hikari, though, is nothing like them. Japan’s Gatebox home assistant is a virtual character, inside a transparent cylinder, designed to act like a caring girlfriend #objectmagic
The Gatebox glass speaker displays Hikari in all her tiny glory with the help of a screen and a projector. She’s capable of helping users thanks to microphones, cameras, and sensors that detect temperature and motion. In the mornings, she can wake up the user, by using facial recognition. During the day, she checks the calendar and weather, sends reminders via text and is even there to welcome home users with obvious enthusiasm. The home assistant has Bluetooth, Internet connection and can be linked to the TV via HDMI.
Azuma Hikari has an online profile, too. She’s 20 years-old, loves anime and donuts and wants to be a heroine for anyone working hard. To communicate with her, a user has to donwload the Android or iOS app. That said, Hikari speaks only Japanese. If the language barrier doesn’t represent a problem, feel free to pre-order a quirky assistant for $2,600. Hurry up – only 300 units will be available for sale this time!