Virtual reality headset leaders HTC and Facebook have both recently revealed the importance they place on face tracking as the next big leap in social VR immersion. Whilst VR headsets are getting better at hand tracking, and general tracking of the body (6 degrees of freedom), the next big goal for both companies is tracking of the face and its near infinite variety of gestures. Fast and accurate face tracking is important because it allows for much more realistic avatars in VR. Ultimately, with sufficiently accurate face tracking, you will be able to chat with another person in VR, and see them live as they are in real life, yet minus the headset. As Mark Zuckerberg himself said in an interview given in the last week :
“One of the things I’m really excited about for future versions is getting eye tracking and face tracking in, because if you’re really excited about social presence you want to make sure the device has all the sensors to really kind of animate realistic avatars so you can communicate well.“
While Zuckerberg hopes to integrate the technology into the future Oculus Quest 3 and 4 generations of the flagship VR headset, rivals HTC have already launched a tracker that can scan your lips, chin, and tongue in VR.
The implications for this are clearly very exciting for adult VR chat and virtual sex. Take for example live VR cam girls as they are at the moment. It’s currently very much a one way street. A viewer can see a live webcam girl in virtual reality (if she is broadcasting with VR cameras), as though he is in the same room as her. A pretty intense experience already. But the drawback is that the girl herself is not experiencing you in VR. Even if you yourself were streaming yourself live to her in front of a VR camera setup, she would need a bulky VR headset to see you in VR. And that would pretty much diminish the erotic experience for both of you.
At the moment, digital avatars are still pretty crude in VR, although they are getting better. Given that even 2D photos can be realistically animated now via deep fake technology, there doesn’t seem to me to be much of a barrier to animating photo-realistic avatars through a combination of deepfake tech and highly accurate facial tracking. For example, a VR webcam girl and her room would be captured by the VR cameras immediately before she put on her headset, and the face tracking inside the headset would mean that for the viewer, he could continue to see her perform, but without the headset (perhaps the headset could be represented by sleek glasses, or something even more undistracting). Most importantly, the girl could experience the viewer in VR, making not only shared VR sex chat possible, but true mutual virtual sex (with haptic sex toys). And of course this doesn’t just apply to VR cam girls. It opens the possibility for virtual sex in any shared VR environment that allows it.
Absolutely gobsmacked by @MyHeritage's Deep Nostalgia AI tool. The video below was generated from a portrait of my great-grandmother taken when she was barely 20.
I am without words. pic.twitter.com/AdUUsIMsMk
— GraveyardSnoop (@GraveyardSnoop) February 26, 2021
Mutual virtual reality sex between a webcam girl and a viewer is not the only possible use case of this tech. Instead of a VR cam performer simply masturbating or stripping as she’s limited to presently, viewers could watch her getting fucked in VR. This could be with another real person in VR, or in a VR porn game. The viewer could even switch between views, to see her either lying on the bed with a haptic dildo banging her, or a holographic avatar of a real person she is having virtual sex with, or a VR porn game environment that she is experiencing virtual sex in.
Of course, for the tastes of many viewers, the photo-realism of the face tracked avatar doesn’t have to be a 100% likeness of the webcam girl or virtual partner. It’s enough that her facial expressions are accurately represented by her avatar. Perhaps he would prefer either an ‘enhanced’ version, or a completely different avatar to the likeness of the person in real life. And of course, he might himself choose to display an avatar that is not a true likeness of himself.
All these considerations, together with the practical application of face tracking for sex in VR, apply too to augmented reality. Real physically present sex between two people, both wearing AR glasses, could be enhanced by face tracking and deepfake tech. Elderly couples could experience sex with each other as they were in their younger days, at least visually. Blemishes could be made invisible, and so on. Face tracking between two physically present people might be easier, as the tracking could be done by the front facing cameras in the glasses of each other.