It's no secret that long-distance relationships are tough. Even given the convenience of incessant texting, late-night phone calls, and FaceTime, life away can feel lonely. The holes in our hearts grows bigger with every minute spent apart (not to be dramatic).
To help alleviate the heartache, modern technology has gifted us with long-distance relationship apps (like Couple, Love Nudge, and Kast), touch lamps and rings, and app-controlled, er, toys. But the oddest long-distance innovation involves a silicone pair of lips (get your minds out of the gutter).
The TikTok-viral long-distance kissing device is creeping out the internet.
Ah, welcome to 21st-century hell. Featuring a fleshy robotic mouth, the viral kissing machine "is meant to mimic the pressure, movement, and temperature of a kisser’s lips using sensors," as detailed by The Independent. Something about the device being warm is sending us into a tailspin.
Per China’s Global Times, it was patented by the Changzhou Vocational Institute of Mechatronic Technology in China’s Jiangsu province.
After plugging the bulky device into a phone's charging port, it connects to a mobile app. Lovers can then pair the device with their partners using the app.
"Long-distance couples can 'upload' their kisses using the device’s mouth-shaped module, which then transfers to the receiver’s end," The Independent wrote. And yes, the device even emits a lip-smacking sound.
“In my university, I was in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend, so we only contact with each other through phone,” inventor Jiang Zhongli told the Global Times. “That’s where the inspiration of this device originated.”
Considering it can only pair with one sender and one receiver at a time, the inventor believes his snogging machine promotes monogamous relationships, according to the South China Morning Post. Additionally, the device requires consent from both kissers.
Though the gadget targets long-distance couples, CNN reported that the app also has a "kissing square" feature, which allows users to meet strangers and inevitably exchange kisses.
The Chinese canoodling device bears a strong resemblance to a Malaysian make-out contraption called the "Kissenger," which hit the internet back in 2016. While the Kissenger, too, mimicked the pressure of a warm-blooded smooch, it didn't boast (horrifying) anthropomorphic features.
Those looking to test out the ungodly gadget can purchase it on the Taobao website — aka China's largest online shopping platform. A single set of lips will set you back about 260 yuan ($38 USD), while a pair of devices goes for about 550 yuan ($79 USD).
In response to a viral tweet, user @HandegulAltan wrote, "It convinced me again that having a long-distance relationship is pretty bad idea." Meanwhile, user @bacchopithecus critiqued the product's realism.
"I feel there are a lot of options not available yet: The tongue, the teeth, the moisture, the breath, among potentially many other important requirements of the human application," the user expressed.
Whether you're intrigued or repulsed by the idea of laying a wet one on a pair of silicone lips, the device will surely spice up any long-distance relationship. Or, at the very least, it'll generate laughter.