HBO’s Silicon Valley is a consistently hilarious and enlightening look into the California high-tech hub. The show is told through the eyes of six men founding their own startup and their trials as they navigate the tech realm. The 4th season debuted in April this year and, on their 2nd episode, the show finally addresses virtual reality. A statement from character Erlich Bachman, played by TJ Miller, about his desire to get involved with a VR app in the 2nd episode of this season served as a comical and fairly accurate summation of today’s VR status: “That’s the frothiest space in the valley right now. Nobody understands it, but everybody wants in. Any idiot could walk into a f*cking room, utter the letters ‘V’ and ‘R’ and VCs will hurl bricks of cash at them. By the time they find out it’s vaporware it’s too late. I have got to get in on this.”
It turns out the app he was interested in wasn’t VR related but, after a series of events, it became the “Shazam of Food.” Via Engadget, the real-life counterpart to the show’s app has gone live and it can tell you with great confidence if the object you’re pointing your phone’s camera at is a hot dog or not.
Not HotDog is the hilarious app that gets sold for a large sum of money by the character Jian-Yang after Erlich Bachman backs away from the deal. It’s not VR, but it still presents the immersive industry on the show by being a very basic form of augmented reality. You simply point your phone’s camera at an object and it tells you whether it’s a hotdog or not a hotdog — crucial information for our daily lives.
This is a neat promotional tool that parallels the humor of the show in a silly way and most likely will not be the last time Silicon Valley tackles the VR and AR industries. Not HotDog is available for free on iOS.