News: Japan's VR Girlfriend Is Coming to Augmented Reality to Creep Us Out in the Real World

Japan's VR Girlfriend Is Coming to Augmented Reality to Creep Us Out in the Real World

We already know that the connection between virtual and augmented reality is pretty tight, with tools like Unity making porting some apps between the two platforms fairly frictionless. But there are some things currently going in VR that just don't need to come to the world of AR.

Exhibit A: VR Kanojo, a virtual reality girlfriend that users get to interact with in some pretty disturbing ways.

Earlier this month, Japan's IVR showed off an AR take on VR Kanojo called AR Kanojo (kanojo means "girlfriend" in Japanese). A video preview of AR Kanojo was posted on YouTube and, as you might expect, the app puts a virtual Japanese girl in your real-world environs, giggling, staring, and showing surprise during various moments of interaction.

Image by IVR/YouTube

It's not clear on the website exactly how the AR app will work, but if it's following the same formula as the VR version, that is, to make girlfriend-less men feel powerful and loved, then this isn't something AR really needs right now.

Sure, sex-oriented AR apps are about as inevitable as sex-oriented VR apps, but VR closes you off from the world, leaving you in a space where you can carry on your odd virtual girlfriend interactions in private. Bringing this dynamic into real-world environments not only feels somehow really sad (for the user), it's also just, well, creepy on an entirely new level.

If you're wondering how someone might react to your AR Kanojo, you need look no further than the popular animated series Archer, which gave us a solid preview of just how weird your AR date will come off to flesh and bone onlookers.

Yes, someday, someone will give us a well-crafted AR buddy that doesn't reinforce gender stereotypes and actually serves as a decent non-human sort-of-friend. But this ain't it.

The VR version works on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PSVR, and it has its fair share of fans and detractors. (IVR's site doesn't note a direct connection to the VR version, but a domain search reveals that both the IVR and VRKanojo sites share the same contact address in Tokyo.)

Image by IVR/YouTube

There's no word on when this AR take on the virtual girlfriend will be released or which platforms it will be available on, but if, in the realm of trivial AR apps, I have to choose between AR fart apps and this, I'll take the virtual noxious gases every day.

Cover image via IVR/YouTube

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