Haruka is the name of a virtual receptionist developed by Japan's Pioneer Corp. that might soon be the first real-world application of an imaging technology that achieves the illusion of 3D without the need for any special glasses.
The company was showing displays at a Ceatec Japan 2005 exhibition that, when viewed from more-or-less straight ahead, show images that appear to be three-dimensional and several centimeters in front of the actual panel. Haruka, who's only a few centimeters high, is actually on a screen inside the small box that encases the technology but she appears to be standing behind a miniature reception desk that is built into the front of the box.
The same box has a number of sensors built-in, including forward pointing ones to detect when a person approaches and several behind the desk to detect any hand movement behind the desk -- try to give Haruka a poke and she'll duck and scold you for taking a swipe at her!
Pioneer hopes to put Haruka on the market soon as a replacement for the solitary telephone that often sits in the entrance hall of companies that have no receptionist. The company wouldn't reveal the price or precise commercialization plans.-- IDG News Service
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