If you’re a fan of adult-comedy cartoon Archer, then you’ve no doubt laughed at (and been creeped out by) Krieger’s strange romance with Mitsuko Miyazumi.
For those who don’t know the show, what makes the relationship both creepy and hilarious is the fact that Krieger is a living, breathing male whereas Mitsuko is a holographic virtual girlfriend that looks like an anime character.
In the context of a rather off-the-wall and crude cartoon, the idea of a man pursuing a romance with a hologram makes some sort of twisted sense.
But that could never happen in real life, right?
Wrong. Japanese tech company Vinclu has quite literally created a product for the consumer market that mirrors the Krieger-Mitsuko dynamic, which is essentially an AI virtual girlfriend.
Dubbed the “Gatebox,” this inventive-and-kinda-creepy piece of tech is marketed specifically toward lonesome business men who want to spend their solitary hours with a holographic robot that looks like a character from an anime. Apparently there’s a market for that.
Despite the inherent oddity of the product, Gatebox is actually rather innovative. No bigger than a toaster and incredibly energy efficient, the Gatebox uses a “projection tube” to make a fake girlfriend materialize out of thin air.
Able to respond to a person’s voice, a Gatebox-girlfriend can interact with a user in real-time. With the ability to connect to smart home technologies, the holographic gal can even turn the lights on when their user gets home. And, just like a real girlfriend, the Gatebox can even send text messages to their user when they’re away.
Adding another layer of peculiarity is the full-on backstory Vicular has created for their Gatebox. According to the product’s website, the Gatebox acts as a portal between two dimensions and the created female persona, Hikari, is using the device to go on a “homestay” in our world. There’s even a mini-manga about the whole thing.
It all sounds a little too strange to be true, but the Gatebox is real and will be on the market quite soon. For more proof, check out the product trailer below.