Sep 10, 2018 / Toronto, Canada & San Jose, CA: When this professional couple met at a conference in Silicon Valley a few years ago, it was love at first sight. The only problem: he lived in San Jose and she lived in Toronto, and they both had lucrative careers, and could not possibly move to be together. They began a long distance relationship and suffered with the travel in order to see each other once a month.
“It was exceptionally difficult” said Kimiko Satou, who is based in Toronto and is the VP of Marketing for Expound, Inc. “Totally” agrees Theo Theodorakis, the lead engineer for Startlr.com. Neither was able to move immediately due to work and visa restrictions, since the time it takes to get a US Work Visa has tripled from 4 to 12 years in the last ten years. Luckily for the pair, Kimiko’s company specializes in virtual reality experience technology and they were able to use the technology to simulate living together. Installing full wall panels at each of their apartments, with full sound support connected to each other over the internet, the couple “live” together virtually.
“Since I work from home a lot, I can watch Kimiko driving up to her house, and meet her at the door, give her a virtual kiss and hug.” In addition to the virtual walls, Expound has provided the couple with a new product, the RealVatar™, a life size human shaped doll which is covered with SoftScreen™ – the pliable liquid crystal display, SoftSkin™ the new wonder plastic used in skin reconstruction and RealSensors™ which can transmit a sense of touch. When Theo squeezes Kimiko’s RealVatar, Kimiko can “feel” the hug transmitted to her RealVatar of Theo. His smile is projected onto the SoftScreen of the RealVatar in Kimiko’s arms.
Prior to these advances in remote technology, a couple like these two would have to use something like Skype, suffer alone and possibly break up. However, these technologies have enabled Kimiko and Theo to have what amounts to a near normal relationship. They have even married remotely. While they are planning to have children, those would still need to be conceived in person – until next year, when Ovula’s Home Pregnancy Kit is released to the general public. “We do plan to be together in person eventually, but these technologies have made the wait so much more bearable” says Kimiko, “virtually” holding Theo’s hand.
These technologies are also a boon to military couples, especially with the new longer deployment periods in Syria, Iran and Africa.
About 6 years ago, I wrote a set of predictive stories about what life would be like 10 years out. Really interesting to go back to that time and see how much of that is on the way to actually happening: some of it – like 3d printers, are definitely moving along at a rapid clip. Others, not so much. I thought that you might find some of these interesting, so I’ll send them out in addition to my regular scheduled programming. Hope you enjoyed, and that it spurs some new thinking!