Digital love: Kajimoto lab developing the e-kiss

ekissLove knows no bounds, and with the help of some new tech that adage may be more than a stock greeting card saying.

Japanese researchers from the Kajimoto Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications are working on a device which will help lovers physically transcend the distance keeping them apart. The engineers are developing a Kiss Transmission Device which aims to simulate the entire experience of a kiss.

The present, rough-looking model consists of two straw-like devices connected over a single PC. A user takes a device and swirls their tongue around one of the straws. Then, the way the A-straw interface is moved is transmitted to the B-straw device which mimics the movement.

One researcher explained, “It is called bilateral control, and the turn angle information is sent reciprocally by both devices to maintain the same position. Right now the values are handled by one PC, but if a system is put together to handle the values over a network, then it would be easy for this operation to be conducted remotely.”

It hardly seems  a romantic picture, but the researchers aim to recreate all the elements of a kiss including a sense of taste, the way a person breathes and even the moistness of the tongue. The dreams for the device also include a less sentimental possibility, as specific values can be recorded and replayed multiple times. Nobuhiro Takahashi told Diginfo.tv, “For example, if you have a popular entertainer use this device and record it, that could be hugely popular if you offer it to fans.”

The Kajimoto lab’s focus is human interface with an emphasis on tactile interface. One of their other projects was a device called the Sense-Roid. This device mirrored back the same hug given it by using sensors, vibrators and artificial muscles; basically allowing a person to hug themselves. Just one more advance in lifelike simulacra.

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