Artificial intelligence researcher Hooman Samani would like to make your long distance relationship easier. Or if that fails, perhaps a robot will suffice?
ExtremeTech first introduced us to Samani -- currently a research fellow at the National University of Singapore -- and a new region of scientific study he calls "Lovotics."
Over the past few years, Samani been equipping robots with robot versions of human hormones like "Oxytocin, Dopamine, Seratonin, and Endorphin," which can "increase or decrease, depending on their state of love."
He has written many papers on the subject, and has even made a few vaguely disconcerting videos, like this one below.
Basically, the robot in this video is an oversized brain, and if this brain does not rise up and kill us all in a few years, perhaps it will fall in love with us first.
But Samani's most recent invention is the "Kissenger," a small pig or cow-esque pair of lips stuck to a circular body that you can plug into your computer via a USB chord while you're Skyping with your partner far across the world. Simply kiss this non-bacteria-covered device and have your partner do the same. The lips of the Kissenger will mold around yours, thereby simulating the feeling of a real, live human kiss.
"Kissing is a very important mode of human communication," explains the helpful Lovotics website, "that involves joining lips in order to express many deep felt positive emotions such as affection, respect, greeting, farewell, good luck, romantic affection or sexual desire."
The site goes on to explain that you don't have to use the Kissenger to simulate love with a real person on your computer screen, but instead you might simply enjoy kissing a robot, if that's your thing. The circular pig or cow is totally cool with however you'd like to use it.
The Kissenger "enables an intimate relationship with a robot," the website adds, and "such technology provides a new facility for closer and more realistic interactions between humans and robots."
But Lovotics doesn't stop there. There's also the "Mini-Surrogate," a Cabbage Patch Kid-sized robot that you can apparently bring with you anywhere? And it moves its arms and hangs out on your countertop, just like your long-distance partner would?
"In this project miniature robots are used as small cute, believable and acceptable surrogates of humans for telecommunication," the website explains.
Other long-distance relationship aids have also been created in recent months. In November of 2011, we were introduced to "Pillow Talk," a pillow with a heartbeat, that suggests the illusion of your partner sleeping next to you. It beats "in sync" with your partner's heartbeat, thereby providing an extremely sad doppelganger for your absent lover. The prototype exists but the product itself is not available yet according to Little Riot, the design company created by Scottish designer Joanna Montgomery, who created Pillow Talk.
Either way, Furby better watch its back. Or develop a pair of lips. Or cry.