A smartphone app called Hybri is adding an unsettling touch of reality to VR, by scanning photos of real people onto an avatar‘s face.
The avatars draw memories of the holographic girlfriend in Blade Runner 2049, but trapped inside a smartphone screen instead of an apartment. Hybri could also launch much sooner than 2049, if the company’s crowdfunding campaign is successful.
Hybri describes the virtual companion as “a fully customizable virtual replica of a humanoid.” Users first pick a basic model avatar and then customize it to fulfill their fantasies. According to Hybri’s website, they can change its face, hairstyle, physique, voice — and even personality:
When you first open the app, the artificial intelligence will figure out what model is right for you by asking you a few questions. Depending on your model’s configuration, they will miss you or argue with you. You can chat with them all day or even give them orders, the choice is yours.
You can then bring the avatar to your home via AR, or whisk it away to a VR location for a virtual date. And if you feel a spark, you can “choose from 52 sexual poses and animations to please yourself and your model.”
[Read: A history of sex in video games: When has it crossed the line?]
But the creepiest feature of Hybri is its Photoscan, which allows you to add a real person’s face to the avatar. That means your unrequited love or celebrity crush could soon become your virtual partner — whether they want to or not.
The perfect virtual companion?
Hybris’ Photoscan is evocative of deep fake porn, which transposes clips of celebrity faces onto the naked bodies of adult actors performing sex acts. But Hybri has gone a step further, by adding interaction to the experience.
However, the company claims that the companion is not entirely subservient:
The models are thinking and feeling, so think about what attitude to choose for her. In some cases, it will be difficult to establish an emotional relationship with your Hybri model.
In addition, Hybri is not only designed for sexual purposes; you can also use the app to build your ideal friend or recreate a deceased loved one.
But it’s the sexual possibilities of Hybri that will attract the most interest. Personally, I’ll be keeping my fantasies buried in my head — and taking my photos offline.