Bizarre Smartphone App Lets You Take Photos, Talk with the Dead

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In an effort to help people cope with the loss of their loved ones, a South Korean tech company is developing an app that lets them take photos and converse with digitally-rendered models of deceased friends and family.

Called “With Me”, the controversial app was developed by ELROIS, a Korean firm that specializes in creating realistic 3D avatars, and requires the featured person to sign up for an avatar while they are still alive. Currently, they have to visit a special booth where their bodies are scanned using special technology, but ELROIS hopes that smartphones will soon come with built-in 3D-scanning technology to streamline the process. The company then proceeds to create a “realistic” 3D avatar based on the scanned images, followed by reshaping and auto-rigging to make it animated.

Not only can users of the With Me app take selfies with these digital avatars of their loved ones, but thanks to artificial intelligence, they can also converse with them, or have them react to certain commands or information uploaded to the app. “When a user puts personal information in the app, the avatars remember the user from that time and recognize if there’s some changes in the of users as well,” an ELROIS spokesperson said. “For example, if there is a change in appearance or an emotional change and the avatar will mention something about it, such as ‘you look younger today, what is your secret?'”

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App Gives Japanese Drivers Free Coffee for Not Checking Their Phones at The Wheel

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In a bid to convince drivers in Aichi Prefecture to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, a new Japanese smartphone app offers free coffee coupons to drivers who don’t check their phones for at least 100 km.

For the last 13 years, Aichi Prefecture has recorded the highest rate of traffic fatalities in Japan. Last year, there were 443,691 accidents that resulted in injuries or deaths, and 50,101 arrests involving the use of smartphones while driving. With handhelds becoming such a big part of people’s lives, there appears to be an increase in violations of this nature, and authorities have yet to come up with an effective plan to combat the problem.

Interestingly, a trio of Japanese company seem to think that an ingenious new app could incentivize drivers to restrain themselves from checking their phones at the wheel and reduce the number of traffic accidents. Toyota Motor Corporation, Komeda Co Ltd and KDDI Corporation have teamed up to create Driving Barista, an app that uses the phone’s gyro sensor to sense the tilt of the device, and the GPS to determine the distance driven. This allows it to calculate the number of kilometers a driver has traveled with the smartphone facing down.

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Creepy Pokemon Go-Like App Lets You Receive Visual Messages from Beyond the Grave

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A Japanese tombstone company is using the augmented reality technology made popular by Pokemon Go to allow mourners to “catch” pre-recorded video messages from their deceased loved ones in cemeteries.

Named “Spot Message”, the new Pokemon Go-inspired app is the brainchild of Yoshiyuki Katori, president of Ryoshin Sekizai, a tombstone company based in Katori, Japan’s Chiba prefecture. He claims that the new technology realizes his longtime dream of preserving realistic memories of the dearly departed for the living. “My uncle, who ran a paint store, died eight years ago after he fell from a tall structure at work,” 33-year-old Katori said. “His death was so sudden, and it shattered the lives of his family. I also respected him a lot, so I would often visit his grave, consulting with him in my mind whenever I had issues concerning my business. I wondered how comforting it would be if he could talk to me at his grave, with messages like ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘Hang in there.’ ”

His desire to hear his uncle’s words at his grave inspired the Japanese entrepreneur to use augmented reality to plant pre-recorded messages from the dead at their graves and other places dear to them, for their living friends and family to discover using their smartphones.

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This App Lets You Order Leftover Dishes Restaurants Would Otherwise Throw Away

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Too Good to Go is a smartphone app that allows users to order leftover food that restaurants would otherwise throw away at discount prices. Originally launched in Denmark, the service has recently been introduced in the United Kingdom by a couple of young entrepreneurs, after returning from the Nordic country.

The main purpose of this newly launched service is to cut food waste. Millions of tonnes of food are thrown in the trash every year in the UK alone, with restaurants accounting for fairly large chunk, so eco-entrepreneurs Chris Wilson and Jamie Crummie came up with a more profitable alternative. “It costs restaurants on average 97p for every meal they throw away so we are saving them that expense and giving them extra,” Wilson said. “And we provide them with all packaging so they have recyclable and eco-friendly boxes.” As for Too Good to Go users, they get the chance to order fancy dishes at low prices ranging between £2 to £3.80 per meal.

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For $24.99 “Invisible Boyfriend” App Creates Fake Romantic Partners to Relieve Social Pressure

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, lots of single people are probably dreading an onrush of uncomfortable questions from parents and other nosy relatives. Thankfully, there’s a new app called the ‘Invisible Boyfriend’ that could help them get through the awkward situation with ease.

The genius app, which recently went from private to public beta, allows users to pay for “believable social proof” that they’re actually in a relationship. The app generates everything that would exist in a real-life relationship, like photos, text messages, and even voicemails – all fake, but realistic.  “It really helps people tell a better story about a relationship they’re not in,” said Matthew Homann, who created the app along with Kyle Tabor. 

He revealed that he first purchased the domains ‘invisibleboyfriend’ and ‘invisiblegirlfriend’ nine years ago, just after a divorce. He didn’t do much with them for a long time, but at a 2013 Startup Weekend in St. Louis, he decided to pitch the idea. Matthew and his team won first place, after which there was no looking back. 

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