The invention allows people to experience "real" intimacy with long-distance partners – or random strangers.
The device, named Remote Kiss, is designed to simulate an actual smooch between partners separated by distance. It attaches to the phone and links users through a mobile app.
Once set up, the device simulates a kiss's pressure, movement, and warmth, according to a report by South China Morning Post. It even has silicon lips to make the experience as realistic as possible.
While it sounds good on paper, video demonstrations of the device could be more convincing. Canoodling a chunk of plastic attached to a phone is not everyone's idea of intimacy. And there's no tongue.
Still, priced at 260 yuan, or just under $38, the device has been selling on a Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao at a rate of more than 100 units per month, according to SCMP.
Some customers left positive reviews for the device, grateful for the opportunity to "surprise" their long-distance partners, while reactions on social media ranged from affirmative and humorous to lewd.
The option on the device app that allows users to "upload" their kisses for others to experience proved particularly controversial, SCMP reported. Critics say it was designed with the adult entertainment industry in mind.
Jiang Zhinglu, the device inventor, said he intended to promote monogamous relationships. The device can only connect two users at a time and requires the consent of both parties to work.
"At my university, I was in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend, so we only contacted each other by phone. That's where the inspiration of this device originated," Jiang was quoted as saying by Global Times, a Chinese state-owned outlet.
The device evokes Kissenger, a similar gadget from 2016. The idea of a remote kissing device was also portrayed in one of the Big Bang Theory episodes in 2012.
Jiang said he was surprised by the viral success of his invention, which he created while studying at the Changzhou Vocational Institute of Mechatronic Technology. The university held the patent of the device until earlier this year.
Unfortunately, the widget did not save Jiang's own long-distance relationship – he broke up with his girlfriend after seven years of romance.
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