Using Augmented Reality to Make Hachiko Meet-Ups Not Terrible

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Shibuya Station | all photos courtesy Teruaki Tsubokura

It’s perhaps Tokyo’s most-well-known and popular meet-up spot. The loyal akita dog Hachiko, who was memorialized as a bronze statue, now stands outside Shibuya station where it waited for its beloved owner to return. But as media artist Teruaki Tsubokura points out, its fame is also its detriment: there’s only one Hachiko for the thousands of people who meet up there every day.

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Indeed, meeting up in Tokyo’s most-popular meet-up spot can be hectic and chaotic. So Tsubokura came up with a hack that utilizes augmented reality (AR) and Microsoft’s Hololens, which has the ability to project images that only the Hololens user can see. The Hololens is still in development, and is quite pricey, but Tsubokura created a mock-up video that imagines a world in which such devices have been widely
permeated.

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everyone gets their very own Hachiko

When meeting up with someone, all you have to do is pinch the air in front of you to generate your very own Hachiko statue. It would be visible to you but also to the person you’re meeting up with. That way you would never miss each other.

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Tsubokura’s idea is of course only a prototype and is not available in any app store. And in all seriousness, meeting up at Hachiko really isn’t that bad. But the concept is really cool and we can imagine a whole lot of applications for this that might even be more useful, like finding your friends at a concert, or even finding a lost child.

Tsubokura presented his idea at the dotFes technology conference in Tokyo recently and you can see his entire presentation here. You can see more of his work here and follow him on twitter.

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