A new version of the Gatebox virtual assistant, a Japanese device that combined smart home device technology with a holographic companion, is making its way to western markets, though not before receiving a significant aesthetic and technological downgrade.
According to Engadget, the device is being brought to the west by Keyshare Innovation Group in conjunction with a New Zealand developer who undertook the task “to essentially rebuild Gatebox’s AI assistant from the ground up.”
As part of this rebuilding the previous companion found within the assistant, a blue-haired anime girl named Hikari with a programmed personality, has been replaced with generic, lifeless attempts at realistic models of men and women.
As explained by Engadget Senior Editor Chris Velazco, this was done to “make it palatable to the western world.”
Furthermore, aside from the obvious aesthetic changes, Velazco also notes that the technology itself pales in comparison to its Japanese counterpart, as “instead of using this more elaborate projection technique, it’s actually just a tablet inside of a chassis with sensors mounted right on top.”
No tangible release schedule for these devices has been publicly announced, but Velazco claims the manufacturer will be “rolling these things out to a certain cruise line within a couple months.”