A Kinect-like device combined with augmented reality goggles makes for a surreal virtual date, as demonstrated in a YouTube video posted this month by an unidentified engineer from Japan. After hacking together a system using the ASUS Xtion PRO and AR goggles, this man was able to go on a date with J-pop “star” Hatsune Miku, a singing synthesizer application whose crowdsourced songs have earned global fans. The video shows the YouTuber strolling through a park with Miku, who fits nearly seamlessly into the real-world environment, and demonstrating the possibilities for interaction, highlighting how Miku responds to a gentle pat on her virtual head and a stronger bop.
Aside from the obvious X-rated possibilities here, this application of the technology has intriguing potential for further meshing the virtual into our physical worlds, from video games and tour guides to training tutorials. —Nick Ayala