This Bizarre Tech Lets You Kiss Someone From Miles Away

Long-distance relationships aren't easy, but a Chinese student aims to partially address the absence of intimacy between distant partners with the use of technology. The result is a rather creepy-looking device that has eerily human-looking silicone lips and can send virtual kisses to your partner. The remote kissing device is currently being sold on the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao for the equivalent of $38 per unit. 

The device, which works by simply plugging into a phone and also via Bluetooth, not only transfers the sensation of a kiss through the mechanical movement of the fake lips — it also measures the temperature and length of the kiss, and then transmits the same to the person on the other end with the same device plugged into to their phone. The app even records the sloppy sound of kissing on silicone lips, because that's apparently important for relaying the "feels," too. 

This isn't the first device of its kind, however. Back in 2016, an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign was launched for a "long-distance kissing device" called Kissenger. The handheld device plugged into a phone's charging port, while an oval skin-color surface at the front recorded and relayed the sensation of a smooch virtually. Marketed as the world's first mobile kiss messenger, Kissenger, unfortunately, failed to gather adequate funding and couldn't enter production.

Wait ... there's a lot more to unpack

The latest iteration of a virtual kissing machine is the brainchild of a recently graduated student named Jiang Zhongli, while the patent rights are held by the Changzhou Vocational Institute of Mechatronic Technology in China. "In my university, I was in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend so we only contact ... each other [by] phone. That's where the inspiration of this device originated," Ziangli told the Chinese state news outlet Global Times.

The fake lips on the kissing device actually move back and forth to replicate natural lip movements. Reviews for the device range from "it's a game changer for me" to "this is disturbing," while some are outraged that it lacks a fake tongue to deliver a proper smooching experience. Its creator, on the other hand, is pushing it as a solution for maintaining monogamy and also as a tool for people who can't physically meet due to disease.

The companion app also lets you record the kissing session and download the video for memory's sake, plus, when two people are kissing virtually, the app compares the strength of their smooching and shows the results in real time. As well, there is also a dating aspect to it where you pick someone from a pool of registered users and send them a real-feeling virtual kiss. Of course, this isn't the only arguably pointless gadget to reach the market.