Digital Media

Japan's most beloved dog is immortalised in HoloLens app

A Japanese developer has combined dogs and augmented reality. A truly powerful mix.

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Victor Fraile, Corbis via Getty Images

Hachiko is one of the world's most famous dogs. An Akita Inu, he would greet his owner at Tokyo, Japan's Shibuya Station every afternoon. After his owner died at work in 1925, Hachiko returned to the station every day for 9 years, waiting for his master to return, until his own death in 1935.

A bronze statue of Hachiko stands at Shibuya station to this day. Now, Hachiko is being immortalised through augmented reality.

A new app developed for Microsoft's still-in-development HoloLens AR platform uses Hachiko as a meet-up marker. If you and a friend both have a HoloLens, you can set off a virtual Hachiko that only you two can see. This will alert them to your exact whereabouts.

The app's developer, Teruaki Tsubokura, explained on YouTube that he was inspired to design the app to lower "congestion" at the actual Hachiko statue in Shibuya, a popular meet-up point for locals.

The bad news is that Microsoft's HoloLens appears to be a while away from hitting your local store shelves. The device became widely available earlier this year, but, with prices starting at $3,000, £2,720 or AU$4,370, it's currently aimed at developers like Tsubokura.

Here's our first impression of the AR headset, which adds visual layers on top of your field of vision -- unlike VR, which creates an entirely virtual field of vision.