But it’s not otaku homes the developer is hoping for these to appear in.

For the past few years, Japanese tech company Gatebox has been offering otaku a live-in virtual anime girl companion with its identically named Gatebox “character summoning device.” The compact gadget sits on your desk and produces a 3-D image of a friendly and supportive character who wakes you up in the morning and can have interactive conversations with you throughout the day.

▼ Gatebox

The system is popular enough that it got a major software update a little over a year ago, and the company has big plans its future…literally, as it’s just unveiled an upgraded version called Gatebox Grande.

Instead of the approximately toy figure-sized image of the standard Gatebox, this gigantic upsizing of the concept can produce characters up to 65 inches (165 centimeters) tall, allowing for essentially life-size representations of the petite female characters that make up a large proportion of the most popular anime/video game stars in Japan at any given moment.

▼ Gatebox Grande preview video

However, while the standard Gatebox is marketed to people who want some virtual companionship in their home, Gatebox Grande is a little too big to stuff inside the average Japanese bachelor apartment, as the 65-inch 4K OLED display is set inside a unit that’s roughly two meters (6.6 feet) tall, Instead, Gatebox Grande is being marketed to businesses as a virtual greeter to be placed in stores, entertainment facilities, and even venues. Using an array of sensors, Gatebox Grande can detect when people are nearby, and the character will react accordingly, such as welcoming visitors as they approach and thanking them when they’re leaving, in order to create a feeling that there’s an actual character present, not just a video on a recorded loop.

Of course, the free market economy suggests that now that Gatebox Grande is technologically possible, there’s definitely a chance that it’ll one day be offered for sale to otaku with deep pockets and abundant floor space. For the time being, though, Gatebox is looking for shops, museums, movie theaters and the other businesses who’re interested in in installing a Gatebox Grande through online applications here, and who knows, with Gatebox having previously partnered with Vocaloid Hatsune Miku, maybe we’ll see a Gatebox Grande greeting travelers as they get off the plane if that Hatsune Miku Airport plan goes through.

Sources: PR Times, Gatebox
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times, YouTube/Gatebox
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