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California-based Virtual Mate is working on an interactive device and software experience that takes a new look at the idea of interactivity in sex toys.

The team behind Virtual Mate has experience developing games (using Unreal Engine) and smart devices, and is currently aiming to start a crowdfunding campaign for its ‘virtual lover’ system on IndieGoGo. The pre-order early bird price is $99, which you can sign up for before the campaign officially launches. First deliveries are expected July 2019.

The Virtual Mate system is comprised of two parts – the hardware (called the ‘Core’), and the accompanying software, which is what displays your virtual partner and their reactions to your movements.

The game can be played via a PC, laptop, mobile and there’s VR support on the way too, for anyone that wants to interact with their photo-realistic girlfriend experience in virtual reality.

Core is designed not to look out of place among your high-tech products; it’s a Fleshlight-like sleeve that has a plethora of different sensors, which is what allows in-game characters to respond to your movements. What it won’t do, however, is sync with interactive content a la the Kiiroo Titan or Fleshlight Launch, which is what makes the interactivity novel on the VirtualMate.

It does include ‘smart warming technology’, and those real-time sensors though. These collect your every movement, depth, speed, and strength, transferring the data via Bluetooth, dictating how Sheila (the default in-game character) will respond to you as you play. Play in “quick mode” or “story mode” for different levels of intimate interaction (depending on how quick you want to get your rocks off).

A Virtual Future

Virtual Mate says there can be an almost endless list of virtual characters to choose from – including plenty of celebrities, but those individuals will need to authorize the company to use their copyright for that to happen. With the rise of deep fake porn on the internet, consenting celebrities is obviously an ethical priority here.

There is also hope for you to explore virtual intimacy within your favourite computer games. Virtual Mate hopes to collaborate with other game developers allowing you to sync Core to any character you desire.

While Sheila is the first of the virtual mates, created using facial and body capture technology from real (beautiful) women, the question on my lips is will Virtual Mate also extend to include a dildo version of Core, with a compatible male virtual mate for its potential female users?

Read next: Privacy-invading camera tech is a problem that authorities will always struggle to combat

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