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‘Evangelion’ Style Electric Poles Planned for the Osaka-Kansai World Expo

Kansai Electric has engaged the powerful image of the biomechanical humanoids in the anime to showcase its multifunctional power pillars ahead of the Expo.

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Revealed in Yushima, this smart pole was designed based on the concept of the anime Evangelion. June 24, in Konohana Ward, Osaka (photo by Takanobu Sawano.)

Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) has shared plans to set up “Smart Poles,” its multifunction utility poles inspired by the anime series “Evangelion,” in time for visitors at the Expo 2025 Osaka-Kansai. The poles, still undergoing testing for improvement, are equipped to serve as next-generation drone bases and function to protect lost children at the Expo.

KEPCO held a public experiment on March 24 using the poles at the site of the 2025 Expo in Yumeshima, in Osaka’s Konohana Ward. 

Among the features unveiled, KEPCO’s lost child search system was demonstrated. An adult female test subject was selected, and data from her facial and physical features were uploaded into the computer system in advance. Using image data captured from the pole security cameras, the computer’s artificial intelligence (AI) was able to identify her as she walked in the vicinity of a pole.

The project was tested from January to June, 2022, in support of Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce. Data was also collected on salt and wind damage resistance at the proposed Expo site, which is located along the ocean. 

Problems such as drone operations being vulnerable to the wind were identified. KEPCO plans to continue the tests on drones and make improvements based on its research at nearby facilities with the expectation of utilizing the smart poles at the Expo.

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The public debut of smart poles developed by the Kansai Electric Power Group (KEPCO) . The poles include a security camera and is topped with a drone port for takeoff and landing. (March 24, 2022 in Osaka’s Konohana Ward. Photo by Takanobu Sawano.) 

These sophisticated pillars can also serve as relay stations for charging drones. They can provide streetlights and act as wireless LAN WiFi stations to cover a large area, even in places without communication facilities. 

Energy supplied from their solar panels can also be used to charge smartphones and provide power in the event of a power outage.

The three smart poles on display at the Expo are about 6 meters high and are lined up about 20 meters apart. With colors in purple and green for “Yumeshima First Pole,” in red for “Yumeshima Second Pole,” and in yellow for “Yumeshima Zero Pole” in yellow, the selections were decided with approval of the Evangelion management company. They reflect the three types of Evangelion mechas (biomechanical humanoid bodies, also referred to as Evas,) from the original TV series. 

KEPCO is said to have requested the collaboration because of the anime’s similarly-named plan called “Operation Yashima.” In Evangelion, the anime operation uses electric power drawn from throughout the country to gather the necessary energy for the mechas, causing all of Japan to suffer a blackout. 

Keiichi Shimizu, Deputy Senior Researcher in the Office of Research and Development at KEPCO said, “We also envision adding a function to warn people with visual and hearing impairments of danger. We want the pole to be useful at the Expo and in people’s daily lives after the Expo.”

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(Read the article in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Kohei Inoue