SINGAPORE: Finding it hard to keep up
the passion in a long-distance
relationship? Help might be on the way.
A robotics professor in Singapore
has invented a gadget equipped
with motion-sensitive electronic
"lips" that allow amorous but absent
couples to exchange long-distance
smooches via the internet .
Shaped like a small head with oversize
silicone lips, the "Kissenger" -- short for
Kiss Messenger -- was unveiled in June at
a scientific conference in Britain and is
still being refined for commercial launch.
"It can be used between humans to
improve their communication," its
creator Hooman Samani told AFP.
Couples just have to connect the
devices to computers via USB
cables, link up online and start
kissing the silicone material to
trigger sensors that move the
gadget on the other side.
They can stare at each other on
screen while exchanging kisses .
"The main issue is to transmit the force
and pressure, and also the shape of the
lip," Samani said.
The "special silicone material" chosen for
the lips offers "the best sensation and
feeling", said the scientist, who has
personally tested the device.
But the Kissenger is not yet ready for the
market despite "a lot of offers" from
interested parties because there are
"ethical issues" that need to be resolved
on top of the technical aspects, he said.
"Kissing is very intimate so in order to
have a product in market which is going
to deal with this sensitive issue we have
to do proper studies and investigation
on the social point of view, cultural point
of view," he said.
The device is still being refined at a
laboratory jointly set up by the National
University of Singapore (NUS) and Keio
University of Japan.
Samani calls his field of study " lovotics"
-- research into the relationship between
robots and humans -- and the Kissenger
is just one of several devices being
developed by his team.