Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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Forget the real thing, My Hachiko conjures a digital statue for meeting up

Forget the real thing, My Hachiko conjures a digital statue for meeting up

Meeting up in a public place can be a pain—especially in an area as packed as Shibuya in Tokyo.

Buried in the hustle and bustle of the city, there’s a well-known monument that many congregate at to meet up. It’s a lone bronze statue of the dog Hachiko, sitting proud near Shibuya station. The statue is a permanent homage to a sweet Akita whose loyalty for his owner knew no bounds. The dog would await his owner’s return from work every day at precisely the same time outside of the station, until one day the owner never returned—he had passed away. The dog remained loyal, and awaited his owner’s return at the station every day for nine years after the death.

My sweet, customizable virtual statue boy.
My sweet, customizable virtual statue boy.

A lot of people flock to the statue, whether to meet up or just take pictures with the memorialized canine. The perpetual crowd makes actually finding one another a pain, but one Japanese media artist has a fix for that, even if it is spurred from a joke.

Presented at the recent creative technology conference dotFes, according to Spoon & Tamago, creator Teruaki Tsubokura introduced a new HoloLens experiment called My Hachiko. My Hachiko solves the tenuous issue of not being able to meet up at the overcrowded cemented pup itself, and with the wag of your finger while wearing the HoloLens, you’re able to spawn in a virtual recreation of the memorial. Problem solved. At least, if both yourself and a friend are among the rare HoloLens-owning crowd.

Summon Hachiko anywhere!!!
Summon Hachiko anywhere!!!

Tsubokura’s experiment may be rooted as a goof—he introduces a “My Hachiko Plus” wristband (like Pokémon Go’s) and customization for ol’ Hachi in the presentation—but the idea of a projecting a virtual beacon to join up with friends in the midst of an augmented reality app is an interesting concept. A concept that, hopefully, others could make in the future.

You can read more about My Hachiko through Tsubokura’s slideshow, and view more of his work here.

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