In China, they created a gadget for remote kissing. And he already has questions.

It so happened that my girlfriend and I are now in different countries. We only talk on discord and telegram. Long-distance relationships without nourishment tend to fade away. So, it turns out that now there is a device for this. So that couples can always feel close to each other, the Chinese have recently invented Mua. This is such a lip slap that can accurately convey the movements made by your beloved. And he’s already quite popular.

Mua is the development of the Chinese startup Siweifushe. The name was chosen in honor of the sound that people usually make when air kissing. The device was created by students from the Professional Institute of Mechatronics in Changzhou. It consists of a pair of silicone lips, several sensors and actuators. They memorize the movements, pressure and temperature of human lips, and send information about this to another paired device that reproduces it all. The gadget is able to capture and transmit sounds, and during interaction with it even slightly heats up.

The device connects to the phone’s charging port and communicates with the phone app. You can add your partner to this application to upload kisses to him. It all looks quite sensational, although (so far) strange:

The program allows you to combine only one sender and one recipient. According to the creators, this is done to support monogamous relationships, which China strongly advocates. To start work, the consent of both parties is required first.

On the other hand, the program has a “kissing area” function. And here it is already far from monogamy! This feature allows random people with one of the devices to download and receive kisses from other “shared” devices. The creators of the gadget hope that, perhaps, it will be easier for singles, of which there are a lot in the country. Maybe that way they can even find someone for themselves. Although from whom you receive a particular kiss is unclear in this case. And something I have a feeling that in most cases it will be a kiss from a man.

Zhao Jianbo, the inventor of the device, says he came up with the idea after seven years of long-distance relationship with his (now ex) girlfriend. He also thought that it would help people during the period of self-isolation, especially since covid restrictions in many parts of China have not yet been lifted.

A couple of devices can be bought for 550 yuan (about $80, 6200 rubles) in the Chinese online store Taobao. True, you will have to wait a very long time for your turn: the Chinese have already sorted out the first batch.

The first pancake is lumpy: Kissenger

This is not the first device to simulate kissing between users. In 2016, students at the Malaysian Imagination Institute created a prototype of a similar product. This Kiss Messenger (Kissenger for short) also connected to the bottom of the phone. It was a large case with a silicone cushion. Which the user kissed to record a “message” for another Kissinger: the same pressure, the same movements. The idea was to use the device during video chats to create the full effect of presence. In addition to transmitting kisses, Kissenger also collected information about the owners: pulse, pressure, reactions to kisses and satisfaction with their accuracy.

The authors of that device were even stranger than Zhao: they believed that such “mechanical kisses” would help people adapt to the inevitable intimacy with robots in the future. Although the target audience at the first stage was to be young couples who had just graduated from high school and were trying to continue their relationship at a distance, when one of them went home or started a new job.

After two years the product started on Kickstarter. A pair of devices cost $299, it was planned to sell 5,000 of these devices. But the campaign did not raise the necessary $500,000 for the launch.

The reasons for the failure here are understandable. Firstly, the price was three and a half times more expensive than that of the Chinese. Secondly, the Chinese version is much more realistic: it has full lips that move, and not just a silicone plate.

There are already problems with the new invention too

Mua is doing well so far. According to Zhao, in two weeks after the launch, their startup has already sold more than 3,000 “kissing machines” and received about 20,000 orders.

Those who have already managed to test the technological novelty shared a variety of reviews. Someone said that experiencing such kisses was intriguing. Others claimed they felt uncomfortable.

Among the main complaints, oddly enough, was the lack of language. That is, you will not get a full-fledged hot kiss with the help of Mua. One internet user described it as feeling like a “warm dummy” with “nothing inside”. “Very uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel like a real kiss,” a Taobao user complained.

Others, on the contrary, stated that it had already helped their relationship at a distance: “In the past, I could see her, but I could not touch her in any way. Now there is a product that helps us become much closer to each other.”

Conservatively minded part of the people expressed concern that the device can be used to, let’s say, “tasting” online content of erotic content. This area is strictly regulated in China, but in the application on the “square of kisses” there are already a variety of caresses performed with the help of lips, which can be downloaded to your device. Zhao Jianbo commented on this trend, saying that his company is following the rules, but “there is little we can do about how people use these devices.”

And generally cool. For those who live at different times of the day with a partner, or want to say hello to work, it can be useful. And how the fans will be delighted to “kiss” their favorite singer or actress! I’m sure there will be a lot of Instagram celebs out there looking to give themselves a little boost by uploading a file of their kisses to the public.

In general, while someone develops ChatGPT and conquers space, it’s funny to see that progress can go in other directions.

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