A group of university students in China have solved the woes of long-distance couples everywhere by inventing a device that lets users experience the authentic feeling of kissing their partner. However, the 3D lip-shaped contraption has unsurprisingly sparked some creeped out reactions from the internet.
The invention was patented by the Changzhou Vocational Institute of Mechatronic Technology in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, according to China’s Global Times. The silicon device, complete with a mouth-shaped module, is meant to mimic the pressure, movement, and temperature of a kisser’s lips using sensors.
The kissing machine works by pairing the device with a mobile app and plugging the device into the phone’s charging port. After pairing the device with their partner on the app, long-distance couples can “upload” their kisses using the device’s mouth-shaped module, which then transfers to the receiver’s end. The machine can even transmit the sound the user makes when they kiss.
Lead inventor Jiang Zhongli told the Global Times that he was in a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend when he came up with the idea for the device.
“In my university, I was in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend so we only contact with each other through phone,” the state-run media outlet reported. “That’s where the inspiration of this device originated.”
Jiang also said the device could be used to promote monogamous relationships, as it can only pair up one sender and one receiver at a time. It also requires the consent of both parties, per theSouth China Morning Post.
The app can reportedly also help users meet someone new. According to CNN, two strangers can anonymously exchange kisses in the “kissing square” function of the app. Users can also “upload” their kisses in the app for others to download and experience.
The kissing device is currently being sold on China’s largest online shopping site, Taobao. One individual set of lips is priced at around 260 yuan ($38 USD) each, and about 550 yuan ($79 USD) for a pair. The device is selling at a rate of more than 100 lips a month.
Remote kissing device for long-distance lovers, invented and patented by Chinese university student in Changzhou City.
￼The mouth-shaped module, served as an inducing area for lovers to make the kiss and then it can transfer kiss gesture to the "mouth" on the other side. pic.twitter.com/5i2ogMiUXe
— China in Pictures (@tongbingxue) February 22, 2023
Unsurprisingly, the new invention has received mixed reactions from Twitter users who were equally impressed and grossed out by the lengths technology will go to simply maintain some form of human interaction.
“This is beyond creepy,” said one person on Twitter, while someone else tweeted: “This is super weird.”
This is super weird.
— Arty Moontail (@ArtumTecno) February 22, 2023
“Enough for today,” joked one user.
“It convinced me again that having a long distance relationship is a pretty bad idea,” another person wrote.
It convinced me again that having a long distance relationship is pretty bad idea..
— Handerose 🎈🤺 (@HandegulAltan) February 22, 2023
The kissing device also drew comparisons to another bold invention, the “Kissenger” – a gadget launched by the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia in 2016. The machine enabled long-distance couples to kiss each other using a touch pad attached at the bottom of their smartphone, which then transmitted the sensation to the identical holster on their partner’s phone.