Saturday, 22 September 2012

Long distance love Devices, or digital fingering

A while ago I mentioned the complications of long distance relationships, and how it can be tough. My situation was I was away at university and getting intimate was difficult at best and expensive, due to the fact that Voice over internet protocols wasn't available and train travel was pricey. In the end it didn't last, and so reluctant on the idea of long distance relationships altogether. Jump a few years ahead and you have skype which it was originally created in 2003 by Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Zennström and his Danish partner Janus Friis.
It has been owned by Microsoft since 2011. The service allows users to communicate with peers by voice, video, and instant messaging over the Internet. Phone calls may be placed to recipients on the traditional telephone networks. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free of charge. Skype has also become popular for its additional features, including file transfer, and videoconferencing.
Internet communication allowed relationships to continue economically though letter writing and personnel care packages seem much more intimate. The long distance intimacy was hard to maintain before the internet, even now there seem to be an emergence of devices for people and for different levels of intimacy.

Consider Cutecircuit a company that sends innocent hugs to the people you love, providing to you are wearing a patented high tech cutecircuit Shirt. Its a basic arduino hack connected to actuators positioned at specific areas around the shirt to represent contact during a hug. connecting via bluetooth ad then to a phone it can receive impromptu hugs via text messaging. Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz the co Founders of CuteCircuit have been awarded one of the best inventions of the year by Time magazine. The shirt also has sensors to encode strength of touch, skin warmth and heartbeat rate of the sender.
The kisser is another device, invented by Dr Hooman a artificial intelligence researcher at the keio CUTE center from the National University of Singapore. The egg shaped device is connected via usb and translates the pressure of the lips to a series of vibrating pulses. Improvements have been made to allow sensors and actuators, so when kissing the shape of the lips move while in progress. Dr Hooman says the device is a prototype and will not be commercialized until all the ethical and technical considerations are covered, he also adds he is not interested in sexual uses for it.
Alternatively a heart-shaped gadget from Japan lets long-distance lovers feel like they're holding hands. The Taion Heart, a Japanese hand-held gadget that mimics the sensation of holding hands by sending your hand's pressure, pulse and temperature to your partner's matching device. A small plastic heart that syncs with your respective cell phones. Squeezing the heart will transmit information by bluetooth to your cell phone, which in turn relays that information to your partner's phone and device, essentially enabling him to hold your heartbeat in the palm of his hand.
The device itself will vibrate, heat up, or change colors according to how it interprets your vitals. Blue means you're relaxed, red means you're a little anxious, and rapid color-changing speaks for itself. Fun stuff! It's like using Walkie Talkies, but instead of handheld radios, you get high-tech portable hearts.
The device, while novel, may be more than just a toy or a passing trend. The Taion Heart was developed by NTT DoCoMo, Japan's biggest mobile carrier, and recently unveiled at a major technology exposition in Japan. Like Apple's FaceTime, the Taion Heart demonstrates the extent to which mobile devices have begun to redefine modern romance and long-distance relationships.
Nowadays, technology can do everything to remedy separation besides teleporting long-distance lovers into each other's bedrooms. The Taion Heart isn't the only device of its kind in Japan. A few months ago, researchers at the Toyohashi University of Technology demonstrated HaptiHug, a wearable vest that translates affectionate words spoken online into real-time hugs.
Ultimately, intimate communication would normally stop at the kissing and hugging stage. but I was wrong there is a new gadget called LovePalz, marketed specifically to couples doing the long-distance thing, that is aiming to make the waiting a little less hard. LovePalz is a two-way, Internet-connected pleasure machine that allows couples in different bedrooms, from anywhere in the world that has Wi-Fi, to simulate coitus. Each partner positions one device -- a "Hera" for the ladies, a "Zeus" for the men -- on his or her erogenous zone and then opens up the LovePalz iPhone app (not yet submitted to or approved by Apple) to connect the device with his or her partner's. (Interestingly, there's a social network aspect to the app: You can add other users and then choose which one you want to connect with; in this case, a higher friend count might not be something you wish to advertise.)
Once you've paired with a fellow LovePalz owner, the process begins, and whatever movement one partner makes with his or her hips, that movement is received and recreated on the partner's device, in real-time, accounting for both speed and pressure. The LovePalz is only at the pre-order stage and despite the rejection from Kickstarter, the company is carrying on with the business on its own steam and private funding. Having sex in this unusual way would probably help long distance relationships but it might take persuading for a female partner to try this device. Also like any electronics devices like this can be open to many options in someway. Considering if there was a way to involve a group of people or same sex intimacy. Long distance relationships have come along way since hand written letters and parcels of gifts. This type of connection will carry on beyond the bedroom,and maybe one day thoughts and dreams might be shared via neuro connections. Either way long distance relationships shouldn't be quite dismissed in the future...

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