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Tinder VR is part social commentary, part huge disappointment

Its headset is more R than V.
Mat Smith, @thatmatsmith
January 6, 2017
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Can you bring the matchmaking magic of Tinder to virtual reality? No. CES brings tech's biggest players to Las Vegas and even if there's nothing to launch, it's the place to strike deals and network. Naturally, that means the swipe-matching app Tinder is in attendance. Its unassuming stall looks like a dream sequence from Twin Peaks. It's uniformly red, with white plinths to show off its PR pitch: a Tinder VR headset. While it may be a headset, there's no screen and no motion tracking; just no technology. The company says (just like its app) the idea is about connecting strangers. But literally this time.

Initially, the goggles feel like any other typical Oculus or Galaxy Gear-style VR headset. Elastic straps connect each stranger to a plastic chamber ... and that then connects to your partner's pair of eye holes. That's it. You then stare into a strangers' eyes, trying not to freak out.

It's a short sensation (I only lasted a few seconds), but nothing about it is virtual reality. The stall paired together absolute strangers in an effort to make sparks fly. While I doubt any of the pairs were rushing off to immediately get married (or hook up), Tinder's spokespeople said it had initiated conversations between people. Virtual reality is still a very isolating technology, but Tinder tried (in its way) to make it a little more personal.

The company was also very much aware that this was a bit of a frivolous PR grab rather than the future of app-based dating. And a bit of silly is fine. This is CES.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.
In this article: gadgetry, gadgets, gear, hands-on, sex, tinder, wearables
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