Sick of digital interaction? Put a fabric tube on your face

George R.R. Martin-sponsored art collective Meow Wolf introduces a stretchy Experience Tube that connects two people together for real-world communication.

Amanda Kooser
Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
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The Experience Tube is made to connect two people.

Meow Wolf

You've had it with impersonal online interactions. You're tired of the digital distance created between you and your friends and family. So you invite your best bud over and hand her one of end an Experience Tube. You place the other end over your head and you are now deep into a new (but old) frontier of analog social media. 

The Experience Tube, which really is just a striped, stretchy tube of fabric, comes from Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Meow Wolf, sponsored in part by "Game of Thrones" author and Santa Fe resident George R.R. Martin, is an art installation currently housing a massive, multilayered interactive exhibit/mystery/funhouse called the "House of Eternal Return." 

The marketing description for the Experience Tube pokes fun at our modern dedication to online social media: "Using only soft striped fabric and the most sophisticated facial recognition technology ever developed (installed standard in current model human brains) the tube replaces all peripheral distractions with an unbridled visual feast of stripes and laughter!" 

If you've ever been to Meow Wolf, you won't find the Experience Tube to be that odd. It comes with this caution: "May erase mind or cause injury to spinal eyeball cords." 

The Experience Tube is, amazingly, actually for sale. It costs $24.99(£19, AU$32) and is available to ship to the US or for in-person purchase at Meow Wolf. That might seem like a splurge for something that looks like Beetlejuice's arm, but it all depends on how much you're willing to pay to experience a tube with a person staring back at you from the other end. At least you know it will be very different from Facebook.

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