This mind-reading VR headset already knows which way you’ll swipe on Tinder

And now I feel really bad
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Smartphone apps have distilled the dating experience into a hollow, thumb-swiping game of probabilities. But what if Tinder knew which way you were going to swipe before you did it? And it's all happening because there's a VR headset on your face reading your mind?

That's what I got to find out during the latest showcase of startups in HTC's Vive X accelerator program. Among the 25 new companies was Looxid Labs, which has a technology for reading your emotions using a combination of eye tracking and brain wave-detection. Looxid has made a mobile VR headset with all this built in, but it's also created attachments that can slot onto the HTC Vive - a crowd of EEG sensors for the forehead, and eye trackers under the lenses - which deliver the same experience.

Read this: The standalone VR headsets are coming

I was eager to try it for myself, so I strapped on one of the custom Vives, and - after a short calibration to make sure it was following my eyes accurately - I was presented with a series of photos. I was told to swipe left (for no) or right (for yes) depending on whether I thought they were "objectively attractive". Which is worse than Tinder, because I can't hide behind the veneer of personal preference as the rejection pile steadily grows.

As I made my selections, the headset read my brain waves to try and work out what types of faces I find attractive. In the second phase I was given a whole new selection of people, but with each swipe it told me whether it had correctly predicted which way I'd swipe with a percentage. It got it right every time, and the margin of error got smaller the more I swiped. I'd been busted. I was then show a readout of my brain activity, a guilty look inside my thought process. It was kind of weird.

This mind-reading VR headset already knows which way you’ll swipe on Tinder

But really this was just a simple demo to demonstrate a technology with much greater potential than knowing who you have the hots for. We've waxed lyrical about eye tracking plenty here on Wareable, but mind-reading VR is a whole other level of immersion. Just think of the uses in therapy, job training, gaming; it feels like there's endless potential for this technology, whether it comes from Looxid or someone else.

The company plans to start shipping developer kits this summer for $3000, and even with the 20% discount it's currently offering it's still a pricey ask. Chances are we won't see this tech built into mainstream headsets for some time, but I can't wait until we do.

And let me tell you, there's no faster way to feeling like human garbage than doing the Tinder shuffle in front of a bunch of strangers.

This mind-reading VR headset already knows which way you’ll swipe on Tinder


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Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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