Tech Bytes: Long-Distance Love Connections
A Tech Feature

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 14 February 2012
Category: Tech > Features Comments View Comments


From pillows that connect long-distance lovers to remote-controlled waterproof pleasure objects, advances in intimate technologies mean that lovers both near and far can remain connected - sometimes in very surprising (and occasionally disturbing) ways.

It's Valentine's Day. If your loved one is far, far away (we mean physically, not mentally), take heart! There are technologies for that. Some are rather pleasurable while others are, well... it's best that you decide for yourself.

Pillow Talk
Pillow TalkPillow Talk allows you to feel the heartbeat of your partner from afar, and vice versa. You each have a sensor ring and a flat panel and to use the system you just slip on the ring when you go to bed, which activates the panel placed inside your partner's pillow, causing it to glow. Your partner then rests his or her head on the pillow to hear your heartbeat and you do the same to hear your partner's heartbeat.

Although it has won numerous design and funding awards since its debut in 2010, and has subsequently been revised from a chest sensor to a ring sensor, this project by Scottish designer Joanna Montgomery remains a concept product as she is trying to raise funds for manufacturing but can't do it via Kickstarter (all sorts of annoying reasons why here) so if you feel so inclined you can help out.

There's no information as to how this ethereal glowing magic voodoo thingamajig transmits, bar "wireless communication", which is sort of obvious, so your guess is as good as ours.

Here's the rather depressing non-explanatory video (but never fear, the rest of this article is more upbeat!):

YouTube link ]

Pillow Talk: Official Site

OhMiBod Remote
OhMiBod RemoteProving that there really is an app for that (and for some reason it costs $0.99 [?]), OhMiBod Remote is an app that's designed to work with your multi-touch touchscreen iOS 3.0+ device to allow it to control OhMiBod's range of personal massagers. Stroke the screen up and down to change the speed and vibration, move from side to side to control intensity, and use multi touch to create a vibration pattern.

You have to admit, it's a pretty clever idea, although you might want to check the app's reviews on the iTunes App Store, as there's a disturbing comment about vibrator crashes and needing to restart the app at crucial moments.

It's the 21st century's version of the Blue Screen Of Death.

And here's a (slightly scary) video:

YouTube link ]

OhMiBod Remote: Official Site

SenseMotion Technology
SenseMotion TechnologyLelo's Lyla, Tiani, and Oden "waterproof pleasure objects" (you know what that means) utilise SenseMotion, which pairs a wireless remote with a range of 12 meters with the massagers to control seven stimulation patterns. The remote is operated with wrist flicks and tilting, and it offers vibrational feedback via a built-in motor, so it's all very exciting even if you're not personally enjoying the pleasures of the object.

(For curious geeks SenseMotion transmits on the 2.4 GHz band so you might need to watch out for interference from your Wi-Fi router or microwave. Don't say we didn't warn you.)

Lelo Insignia And Luxe Massagers: Official Site
(PS: you can buy these in South Africa).

Zoon+Nevermind across a room, how about across a country or continent (or two)? I-Gen's Zoon+ is a waterproof vibrator with five modes that can be controlled via remote (for a little bit of naughty in a nice place) or, more interestingly, remotely via the Web using a special passcode that the owner gives to her partner.

Once you've bought one there's a very exclusive sign-up process via the Zoon+ web site (half of which is in French but that just adds to the mystique, as does the fact that the sign-up process is unnecessarily complicated) but once you're in you'll have access to drivers for Windows and Mac OS and an explanation of how to install Java. (You'll have to install Java.) Then, grab the passcode, pop up the control window, and you're good to go.

Combine it with a phone call or Skype chat and, well, the possibilities are endless.

Zoon+: Official Site
(PS: you can buy this one in South Africa too.)

KissengerWe couldn't end this article without having something that just steps a little over the crazy and/or disturbing line. Kissenger (a portmanteau of "Kiss Messenger") is a "kiss-transmission robot" developed by artificial-intelligence researcher Hooman Samani of the Keio-NUS CUTE Center, which is a collaboration between the National University of Singapore and Keio University of Japan. The Kissenger system comprises two robot animals, each with an artificial mouth that has mouldable lips. You kiss the one, the data gets transferred to the other, and, well, you can guess the rest.

There are three intended uses for the device: human-to-human interaction, human-to-robot interaction, and human-to-virtual character interaction, which should keep lonely World Of Warcraft players occupied late into the night. (Which might stop them from doing this (NSFW video) for a few seconds.)

Kissenger is only on version 1 so you can just imagine what might come next (or, er, perhaps you shouldn't) but in the meantime here's a video, which is much more upbeat than the Pillow Talk one:

YouTube link ]

(By the way, Lovotics has another project, called Mini-Surrogate, in which your likeness can be made into a robot for long-distance chats and who the hell knows what else.)

Kissenger: Official Site

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South Africa Mandy J Watson
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Cape Town, South Africa

United States Jase Luttrell
Portland, Oregon, United States

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