It’s a struggle that many couples in long-distance relationships face, but months without a kiss could finally be a thing of the past – thanks to a bizarre new invention.
The “miracle” device, created by an engineer in China, has a moving silicone mouthpiece that lets you kiss your partner from a distance.
Sensors mimic the pressure, movement and warmth of your partner’s lips, while even emitting hugging noises to make it as realistic as possible.
People can also use the device when the recipient is nearby, but physical contact is not an option – for example, if someone has a mouth infection or an illness like Covid.
Scientists have already been working to bring kissing to the “metaverse” — the virtual shared space accessible over the internet.
People can also use the device when the other user is nearby – perhaps if one of them has a mouth infection or a contagious disease like Covid
The “miracle pillow for long-distance lovers” was invented and patented by Changzhou Vocational Institute of Mechatronic Technology in East China.
How does it work?
Users plug their phones into the top of the device and begin recording their hug by kissing the device’s lips.
Sensors on the lips read pressure, movement and heat from the lips and record every sound.
Once they’re done, they can upload their kiss and save it to an app before sending it to the recipient.
The fake lips on the receiver’s device mimic the movements of their partner’s kiss and even emit their hugging noises.
“In college, I had a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend,” Jiang Zhongli, one of the inventors, told the Worldwide times.
‘We only had contact with each other by telephone, that’s where the inspiration for this device came from.’
Since it is connected to the internet, it works regardless of the distance between the two people.
Users insert their smartphone into the top of the device and begin recording their hug by kissing the device’s lips.
Once they’re done, they can upload their kiss and save it to a companion app before it’s sent to the recipient – a bit like sending a WhatsApp message.
The fake lips on the receiver’s device mimic the movements of their partner’s kiss while emitting sounds – if they’ve made any at all.
According to South China Morning Maila set of lips costs 260 yuan (£30 or $38) or 550 yuan (£66 or $80) for a pair on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao.
Customer feedback has been mixed so far.
One buyer said: My partner didn’t believe (distance kissing) was possible at first, so her jaw dropped when she used it.
A bizarre new device with moving silicone ‘lips’ allows people to kiss their partners remotely over the internet and share virtual intimate moments
Video calls between long-distance couples may soon never be the same thanks to the invention of the Changzhou Vocational Institute of Mechatronic Technology
“This is the best surprise I’ve given her during our long-distance relationship,” the post read.
A user on the social networking platform Weibo also said, “I don’t understand, but I’m completely shocked.”
Another made a slightly more intimate suggestion for the next version of the technology.
“It’s a wonderful invention, but where’s the tongue?” they posted on Weibo.
According to Jiang, the creation only promotes monogamous relationships – those with only one partner at a time, rather than multiple partners.
This is because it can only pair one transmitter and one receiver at a time, preventing amorous singletons from making out with several other users.
Jiang now hopes to collaborate with interested companies who can help him expand and perfect the design.
He claims that 100 devices are already being sold through Taobao every month, but he hopes to ramp up production and sales.
The gadget is similar to ‘Kissinger’, a Malaysian invention that has a touch-sensitive silicone pad.
But by creating a pair of lips, Jiang’s device offers more realism for couples at a distance.
The gadget is similar to Kissinger’ (pictured), a Malaysian invention with a touch-sensitive silicone pad instead of lips
Virtual kissing will be the next big frontier for virtual reality and especially the metaverse, the concept of a shared virtual space pioneered by Mark Zuckerberg’s firm Meta.
Researchers in Pennsylvania have already modified a virtual reality headset to allow people to kiss in the metaverse.
A thin array of sensors integrated into the bottom of the headset sends ultrasonic energy to various parts of the mouth, including the lips, teeth and tongue.
Kissing at a distance may prove popular, thanks in large part to China’s ‘Zero-Covid’ approach to the pandemic over the past three years.
The policy, enforced by President Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP), included strict lockdowns, regular PCR tests and long quarantines.
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