Robotic tongue developed for online kissing
Services such as Skype have certainly made things a little easier for geographically-separated romantic partners, but when the tele-chat is over and it's time to say good night, sometimes a little air kiss blown towards a webcam just isn't enough. While there are products that cater for the long-distance physical needs of couples, those might be a bit much for everyday situations. There's also the KissPhone, which attempts to simulate the sensation of one partner's lips against the other's. Sitting between those two extremes, however, is the "Kiss Transmission Device" – a prototype gizmo designed to allow its users to virtually lock tongues.
The KTD is designed "for communications within the mouth, in other words, the goal is to obtain the feeling of kissing," according to its inventor, Nobuhiro Takahashi, an Information Systems graduate student at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo.
The system consists of two computer-connected bilaterally-controlled devices, each one with its own motorized, bent tubular "tongue." As one user rotates their device's tongue inside their mouth, the tongue on the other device moves in the same way – given that the tongues appear not to be able to extend or twist, the possibilities for individual "artistic expression" seem to presently be pretty limited. In the future, however, Takahashi would like bring factors like taste, breath and mouth moisture into the mix. A tonguier-looking and -feeling tongue might be a good idea, too.
Once the device is better developed, he sees it potentially being used not only by couples, but also by celebrities. Pop stars, for instance, could "record" a French kiss on the device, which their eager fans could then play back in their mouths. No ... really.
Although both devices are currently connected to the same computer, Takahashi believes it would be easy enough for them to communicate via the internet, on two separate machines. Combined with something like the wriggling, creepy-looking Telenoid R-1 telepresence doll, the possibilities of the technology could be very ... well, we'll just let you pick your own word.
Source: DigInfo News