|Occupation||librarian, actor, entrepeneur|
|Known for||virtual reality innovator|
Ela Darling is an American actor who has been described as an innovator in introducing virtual reality technology to erotic films. According to the New York Times, Darling first used virtual reality technology to record an erotic scenario in 2014. Since then Darling founded a company, VRTube.xxx that produces virtual reality content. She has been a speaker at several conferences focused on virtual reality.
In October 2017 comments Darling made about how sex robots would affect the erotic film industry were widely repeated. Among Darling's comments was a concern that if sex robots became popular people might stop have sexual relations with one another.
- “And I think now is the time to start thinking about these things as this is going to be a technology that people will be embracing in – which is a sensitive thing to be in. Right now were at the stage where sex robots are being invented and the next step will be everybody has a sex robot.”
In a 2017 profile of Darling Rolling Stone magazine described Darling's first experience filming a VR experience, and how it lead to her partnership with James Ashfield. Ashfield, then a 20 year old college student, had placed an online ad seeking a webcam model to film a virtual reality experience. Ashfield flew Darling to Washington DC, and filmed in his college dormitory room. According to Rolling Stone, after the filming, Darling asked him if he had secured paperwork. He didn't realize he needed formal paperwork. Darling had anticipated he might not realize he needed to legally protect himself, and had brought the legal forms with her.
Rolling Stone described Ashfield as boyishly handsome, and that Darling's first reaction was to wonder whether he was old enough to purchase pornography, let alone record it. Ashfield described his surprise that Darling at how actively engaged Darling was in learning the technical background of his equipment, and by the intelligence of her question. He realized he needed her professional experience and the pair soon became business partners. Rolling Stone reported they also became good friends.
Following the shutdown rules governments put in place to help prevent infection from the Covid 19 virus press reports have cited or quoted Darling when reporting increased interest in virtual sex. Even before she became an entrepeneur Darling was an advocate for safe-sex practices.
- Barbara Sueko McGuire. Library nerd Ela Darling is here to change your VR porn experience, Daily Dot, 2017-08-23. Retrieved on 2020-11-20. “Just two months after the two filmed Darling’s first 15-minute VR porn scene, Ashfield proposed they become equal partners in his business, VRTube. Fast forward three years, and the duo have gone from a GoPro jerry-rigged with hope and putty to a patented camera and 3D 360-degree capture approach that wows even jaded VR experts.”
- Scott Ip. Is Porn Leading Innovation for VR?, VR Scout, 2016-06-18. Retrieved on 2017-10-26. “Darling has built her own stereoscopic camera solution with stitching software and plans to offer it at a low entry price of $250, to allow easy access to cam girls who wish to enter into the market.”
- Alyson Krueger. Virtual Reality gets naughty, New York Times, 2017-10-28. Retrieved on 2017-10-26. “In early 2014 Ela Darling, 31, a pornographic actress, recorded her first virtual reality sex scene.”
- Ela Darling, Silicon Valley VR 2017. Retrieved on 2017-10-29. “Since earning her Master’s degree at the age of 21 and transitioning from a career as a Reference Librarian, Ela has spent the last 6.5 years as a feminist, porn star, and political activist.”
- Alex Needham. SXSW panel explores virtual reality porn: 'more eye contact and dirty talk', The Guardian, 2016-03-18. Retrieved on 2017-10-29. (in English) “Eventually, some suggest, “teledildonic” technology will enable them to feel sex as well as see it, though a strict patent, according to delegate Ela Darling, has prevented technological developments in this area.”
- Allan Amato (2016). Slip: Naked in Your Own Words. Baby Tattoo Books. ISBN 9781614040156. Retrieved on 2017-10-26.
- Christine Younan. Stunning porn star reveals sex robots are 'GAME CHANGER' and will ruin industry, Daily Star, 2017-10-07. Retrieved on 2017-10-26. “But Ela, 31, fears sex with machines will stop humans hooking up with one another.”
- Charlie Parker. Sex robots could put us out of work: porn stars, New York Post, 2017-10-08. Retrieved on 2017-10-26. “Speaking to the Daily Star Online, she said: 'Sex robots are going to be a game changer.'”
- Vincent Wood. Adult TV stars could be put out of work by ROBOTS amid industry fears, The Express, 2017-10-09. Retrieved on 2017-10-26. “Adult actress Ela Darling has revealed the next step could be “everybody” owning a sex robot.”
- Sophia Jennings. Meet Ela Darling: Porn Star, Activist, Tech Pioneer, Rolling Stone magazine, 2017-11-09. Retrieved on 2020-11-20. “Most importantly, Darling asked Ashfield if he had any paperwork for her. He said they were fine. Darling stopped him and brought out all the forms he needed, telling him if he didn’t have them he couldd go to prison. “I sort of saved his ass in that regard,” she laughs. Soon after, Ashfield reached out and asked if they could continue as business partners. “It was clear that we needed someone with more experience in the industry and insight into the performer mindset,” Ashfield says.”
- 2018 XBIZ Awards Winners Announced. Archived from the original on 2020-01-10. Retrieved on 26 January 2018.
- Paula Andropoulos. Lockdown's given rise to a high-tech sexual revolution, The Sunday Times (South Africa), 2020-08-02. Retrieved on 2020-11-20. “It's apparent that most of us predicted the sexual ramifications of a global pandemic quite early on, since the sex toy industry is one of a very few to have experienced a boom - a boon! - since the onset of worldwide lockdowns.”
- Tony Pierce, Suzanna O'Neill. On condom measure, AIDS director claims City Attorney has 'confused relationship with democracy', SCPR, 2011-12-27. Retrieved on 2017-10-26.