You Can Now ‘Kiss’ Your Long-Distance Lover

Illustrated by Anna Sudit
Let's be honest: Long-distance relationships suck. While apps like FaceTime, Snapchat and Skype can help us reconnect with our far-off partners across space and time, they don't allow us to share in the physical intimacy that's mostly missing from an LDR. But a little-known gadget does exist to enable couples to kiss each other through the internet. Kissenger is a smartphone holster with a plastic pad attached at the bottom. It uses pressure sensors and actuators to record and transmit your kiss, and simulates it to your lover on the receiving end via the app, which also allows users to videocall each other. The creators of the brightly coloured plastic device, which has been the subject of university lab tests for the last couple of years, say it has helped users get used to machine-based touching, the Mirror reported. However, they admitted a lot more work needs to be done to create a more lifelike makeout experience. While the pad is lip-shaped, it isn't currently shaped like a mouth and doesn't have anything to simulate a tongue.
Speaking at the second international congress on Love and Sex with Robots, Emma Yann Zhang, who worked on the Kissenger prototype, said: "Kissing is the most direct and universal expression of intimacy and affection... It's a way for us to bond and maintain intimacy in our relationships. "Also, it’s stress reducing; when we engage in this kind of intimate physical touch, we have a lower level of blood pressure." The device isn't only used by people in romantic relationships, however. The creators say it can also help to strengthen parents' bonds with their kids. "Parents can also use Kissenger to give their children a kiss on the cheek when they are away at work," its creators said. The next stage in Kissenger's development is building scent into the device, Zhang said, giving users an even more authentic experience of the person they're lusting after.

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