Kissenger: Kiss Messenger, Googly-Eyed Robot Pigs for Virtual Kissing

Should you wish to virtually transfer a kiss to someone over the internet, Singapore-based research study Lovotics (Love + Robotics) may hold the answer. The Kissenger: Kiss Messenger is a set of googly-eyed robotic pigs (or are they rabbits?) that can long-distance emulate and deliver a kiss. One person kisses the robot animal, where it molds its animal lips around that person’s lips, and then the kiss information is sent to the kiss recipient. The recipient then takes their own robot animal and receives the virtual kiss.

Artificial intelligence researcher Hooman Samani is behind the Lovotics study and has also developed the Mini-Surrogate, “small cute, believable and acceptable surrogates of humans for telecommunication.”

Kissenger enables three modes of interaction:

1. Human to Human tele-kiss through the device: bridges the physical gap between two intimately connected individuals. Kissenger plays the mediating role in the kiss interaction by imitating and recreating the lip movement of both users in real time using two digitally connected artificial lips.

2. Human to Robot kiss: enabling an intimate relationship with a robot, such technology provides a new facility for closer and more realistic interactions between humans and robots. In this scenario, one set of artificial lips is integrated in a humanoid robot.

3. Human to Virtual character physical/virtual kiss: provides a link between the virtual and real worlds. Here, humans can kiss virtual characters while playing games and receive physical kisses from their favorite virtual characters. Further, Kissenger can be integrated into modern communication devices to facilitate the interactive communication between natural and technologically mediated environments and enhance human tele-presence.