Calling all introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts: this is for you (yes, all of you). There’s a hero living among us, and his name is Jun Rekimoto. Jun is a Japanese researcher and tech enthusiast who has created a revolutionary new service called “ChameleonMask”. The company, which debuted recently at the MIT Tech Review’s emerging technology conference in Singapore, has been nicknamed “Human Uber.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the ride-sharing tycoon Uber, it’s like a taxi service, but with nicer cars, cheaper rates, oh, and you can do everything from your phone: order a car, make payments, share your location, leave reviews, etc.
Rekimoto doesn’t necessarily agree with the Uber-esque comparisons, and describes his concept as mobile FaceTime. Either way, it’s pretty weird, but also, kind of totally awesome. ChameleonMask is the first service of its kind, and according to their website, “ChameleonMask is a telepresence system that shows a remote user’s face on the other user’s face.” In short, you can hire someone to strap a tablet or smart device to their face and fill in for you virtually, anywhere.
The website goes on to say, “To do this, a surrogate user wears a mask-shaped display that shows a remote user’s live face, and a voice channel transmits a remote user’s voice. A surrogate user mimics a remote user by following the remote user’s directions.”
Each ‘surrogate’ receives specific instructions from users ranging from what to wear to how to act. Users have full access to the webcam that is sported by the surrogates, and can enjoy the virtual presence of others as they please.
Critics suggest this technology is turning us further into a society with our face in our phones, with more of our priorities focused on FaceTime rather than *actual* face-to-face time. But, this is far from what ChameleonMask is intended for. In fact, the company hopes that this service will allow people to have more flexibility in their time and schedules, and allow them to see and virtually attend any and every event of their choice.
Friend getting married on the other side of the world? Send a Chameleon. Can’t make it to your family’s house for dinner next week? Send a Chameleon. Don’t want to miss that super important work meeting? Well, you get it. Basically this idea is bizarre, weird, futuristic, and we can’t wait to see where it heads.
Also, how are they supposed to see past those devices covering their faces and subsequently blocking all of their vision?! Guess that’s for the tech experts to figure out…