Just in time for national make-out day comes the robot that makes it all sendable to your "long-distance" (read: virtual) girlfriend via robot.
The Kissenger, brought to you by the brain trust behind the Mini-Surrogate and the Lovotics Robot, is a two-"lipped," computer-controlled robot that transfers a "kiss" through communication interfaces and video chats. (Think the ever-popular Kiss Transmission Device -- without the tongue action.)
Awkward lip sessions -- that are only as good as your own breath -- can be exchanged in real time, as sensors on the silicon pads transmit lip movements from person to person ... and robot.
"Kissing is a very important mode of human communication that involves joining lips in order to express many deep felt positive emotions such as affection, respect, greeting, farewell, good luck, romantic affection or sexual desire," writes Dr. Hooman Samani, an artificial intelligence researcher in Keio-NUS CUTE Center in Japan. "With the aid of digital communication media and advanced robotic technology, the system takes the form of an artificial mouth that provides the convincing properties of the real kiss."
Samani writes that his pig-shaped, slobbery kiss machine performs three functions:
1. Human to Human tele-kiss through the device, in which the Kissenger plays the "mediating" role by imitating and recreating the lip movement of both users in real time. (Creepy)
2. Human to Robot kiss, which enables a human-robot relationship "for closer and more realistic interactions between humans and robots." (Creepier)
3. Human to Virtual character physical/virtual kiss, which provides a link between humans and their favorite characters (on Farmville).
Friends, there's nothing quite like natural selection.
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