Long-distance love in the future
Valentine’s Day means spending time with the one you love best. But what if the one you love can’t be with you? No matter - there are plenty of futuristic ways to show you care, and some that are still being developed.
Valentine’s Day means spending time with the one you love best. But what if the one you love can’t be with you? No matter - tech means there are plenty of futuristic ways to show you care.
Right now: Social VR
If you’re prepared to invest some serious dough in tech gadgets, then you and your beloved could be chatting in virtual reality via Facebook Spaces. If you both have an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, cartoon avatars of you and your beloved can meet and interact in a virtual world. Your avatar can look around and explore, show (limited) emotions and share messages, photos and weblinks. Of course, if you have to invest in the gadgets, you’ll probably find it cheaper to buy a plane ticket …
Right now: Augmented Reality
AR had its big (and brief) moment in 2016 with the massive success of Pokémon Go. But since then, it seems to have sunk back into relative obscurity. Now, however, Apple has brought AR back into the spotlight by adding the fun Animoji feature to the iPhone X. You can customise an emoji with your voice or facial expression and send it as part of a chat. Such fun!
You can rest assured that every other chat app is working on this - Microsoft has already announced a product called Room2Room, which is Skype with AR. Right now, the tech allows you to chat to a projected 3D image of the other person, making it more lifelike. You'll need some serious equipment, however, so this might be one for the backburner for now.
Right now: The virtual kiss
Couple is a super-cute app that allows you to communicate with just your special person, and build a timeline that's completely private. You can chat, or post photos and videos, and send Secret photos that disappear after a fixed amount of time. What's really nice is a fun function that allows you to draw together on the same screen simultaneously and play games, even though you may be hundreds of kilometres apart. You can also create a shared to-do list and calendar so special tasks and dates are never forgotten. And if you're really into cutesy stuff, ThumbKiss allows you to virtually 'kiss' your partner - you both place your thumbs on the screen at the same time, and your phone will vibrate. Aah! Available free for Android and iPhone.
Not yet: Holograms
Holograms are the stuff of Star Trek and Star Wars - but not for long. Digital clocks already exist that project the time holographically, but true 3D holograms that appear in space are a lot more complicated to achieve. In fact, researchers in the US have just achieved something similar, not using holograms but using a volumetric image - they call it ‘a 3D printer for light’.
Not yet: Telepathy
He’s brought us SpaceX, Tesla and the Hyperloop - now Elon Musk hopes to bring us telepathy as well, of a kind. His new company, Neuralink, aims to create devices that can be implanted in the brain that can interface with computers. Such devices could certainly be used in the future to communicate with just a thought. And, after all, it’s the thought that counts.
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