Apps +



Year: 2013

Author: Rachel Grant

Type: undergraduate dissertation concept

Availability: free below

Page reference: Grant, R. (2015) findyourdoppelganger. ( last accessed <insert date here>)

Original text


You are sat on a bench, waiting for a train. It’s delayed. Typical. You hate waiting. You reach into your jeans pocket to pull out your smartphone. You hate it when your hands aren’t occupied. You prefer to have a reason not to talk to the other people on the platform. Look busy. It’s less awkward. Your jeans are tight so you wriggle as you slide out your phone. No new texts. You scroll through your facebook newsfeed. An instagram of a pretty salad captioned ‘lunchtime! #yummy! @thekitchen’. Emma’s dyed her hair again. ‘mysterious black cherry’. Another instagram, this one of your friend’s not-so-new baby. 32 likes and a hundred variations of “they grow so fast!” in the comment box.

You swipe your fingers over the screen to return to your home screen.

Still another 4 minutes before your train arrives.

You check out the new apps. This one looks good- “findyourdoppelganger”. You wonder what celebrity it’s going to tell you you look like. What the hell, it’s only 99p.

It comes up on your screen. It looks pretty flash. It instructs you to take a photo of yourself. You line it up with the grid, eyes on the horizontal line, nose in line with the vertical. God you look tired. Never mind. You keep your expression neutral, like in a passport photo, like it told you. You press capture.


It takes a picture in black and white.

A bar of light scans across the photo, making a sound like a light sabre.


The special effects are pretty cool. As the bar crosses your face, you see a grid of lights, the structure of your face momentarily illuminated. You feel like an MI5 agent, using your biodata to enter into some top secret location.

‘Searching the database…’

The wait is over. A face pops up on the screen. Your face again. No! not your face? Jesus Christ. Have they morphed your face or is it.. no it is another person. This is not what you were expecting. You don’t look like Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. You look like… “Fred Ndungya”, apparently. Who IS this person?

It’s as if they are looking right at you. They, too, must have taken a picture of themselves, looking straight into the lens, straight-faced, like it were a passport photo.

You wait for something to happen. A message appears on the screen, silently:

“Fred Ndungya is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He works 60 hours a week in a dangerous mine, threatened at gunpoint, to extract the mineral Cobalt. The same mineral that is used in this phone".

"He has a personal message for you”

A command appears on the screen: read message?

What on earth…. You touch “yes”

A message pops up. No longer than a tweet.

And then it’s over. You look at the almost mirror-image of yourself, transfixed. The likeness is uncanny. It’s…it’s amazing. You’ll have to google it. What was it called again? “Find your doppelganger”. There must be a forum or something with other people who have … f***ing hell!.. tried it out too. You don’t know who this “Fred” is, staring at you, but the hairs on your arms are standing on end.

And you’ve just missed your train.

Further reading

Anon (2015) Woman who used online experiment to try and find her doppelganger finds a SECOND 'twin stranger'... but do they look as similar? Daily Mail 11 June ( last accessed 6 July 2015)

Pow, H. (2013) Take 2: Photographer releases second set of amazing portraits of total STRANGERS who look like twins. Daily Mail 23 January ( last accessed 6 July 2015) 

Page republished from undergraduate dissertation submitted by the author to the University of Exeter. Reproduced with kind permission (last updated July 2015). Phone image used under CC license courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (link), face image used under CC license courtesy of Jun'ichiro Seyama (link), camera icon used under CC license courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons (link).