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Meet Kissenger, The Kiss Messenger (i.e., Would You Lock Lips With This?)

by Adriana Lee | February 4, 2012February 4, 2012 8:00 am PDT

This one gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “technology lover.”

Imagine you have a long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend. And say you miss this significant other, at times even wanting to indulge the joys of a goodnight kiss. But what can you do? Well, just reach for the pig.

What you’d actually be doing is grabbing Kissenger, a robotic stand-in created by Lovotics (that oddly looks like a barnyard animal), and laying that smacker right on the those hardware lips. The system kicks in to translate, transmit and recreate the kiss over at the recipient’s robot in real time.

Physical interactivity is an intriguing application of technology — sort of the last frontier for telepresence. At its best, the ability to send demonstrable shows of love, sympathy or support could humanize the often isolating feeling of digital communication, which is at least part of what Lovotics was going for here. While that’s a noble intention, there’s just one problem: The end result in this case is just… kind of creepy. I guess that’s just the pitfall of outfitting a human touch replacement tool with a big pair of mechanical lips.

Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), the lover bot in AI (2001)

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen technologists attempt to transmit and duplicate the act of human kissing, but Lovotics seems to push the concept further with other bizarro settings: In addition to being a human-to-human bridge, the artificial lips can also be set in an humanoid robot for some artificial lovin’ (no significant other necessary!) and a human-to-virtual character mode, so real-life people can make out with game or virtual-world avatars using this technology.

I’m suddenly reminded of Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), the lover “mecha” from the 2001 Spielberg opus, AI. Is this where things are heading? Eeshk. Take a look at the concept vids (below), and then tell us what you think of people locking lips with robots.

 

And another concept version (with even creepier lips)


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...

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