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Tech by VICE

Tech Support: Technology For Getting Really Intimate in A Long-Distance Relationship

All this access to easy communication only magnifies the true thing you’re missing: SEX. Okay fine. Let’s call it “intimacy.” Or just, “not having to wake up in an empty bed, cradling your cold laptop.”

by Michelle Lhooq
Oct 29 2012, 12:00am

Let's face it: if you're in a long-distance relationship, you're wasting a huge amount of time. Or, to put it more gently, you're investing — locking up your time, feelings (and cash) into a tiny locker of suffering, and stashing them in a foreign place with the hope that it'll all pay off in the future. Basically you're just like a furtive tax-evader, but with a much lower likelihood of success.

Sure, you've got Skype, Whatsapp, FaceTime and whatever new "relationship app" the Apple store decides to throw your way this week. But all this access to easy communication only magnifies the true thing you're missing: SEX. Okay fine. Let's call it "intimacy." Or just, "not having to wake up in an empty bed, cradling your cold laptop."

What you really need is to be touched/hugged/made out with furiously by a robot. A robot controlled by your partner. So here are four futuristic devices that will facilitate that physical connection. While not all of these teledildos have hit the commercial market just yet, when they do, they'll be the next-best-things to the real thing.

Bluetooth-Enabled Hand Holding

A year ago at a big tech expo, Japan's biggest mobile carrier, DoCoMo, debuted the Taion Heart — a white, heart-shaped piece of plastic that fit perfectly into your hand. When given a squeeze, the device would measure the rate of your heart and the tightness of your grip. This info would be transmitted to your partner's phone, and then to his or her matching device, which would get warm and light up into a variety of colors — while vibrating according to your pulse of course.

Supposedly, this mimicked the sensation of holding hands with someone, although the flashing lights and vibrations suggest they meant your experience to be more of an abstract, sensorial one than a true-to-life recreation.

"Couples can use it by each person holding the heart in bed as they sleep," DoCoMo told the press. Edgar Allen Poe would be so into this.

For Sucking Face Via A Faceless Mister Potato Head

The Kissinger, version 1.0

You've got to hand it to those Singaporeans. Their plummeting birth rates have inspired some pretty far-fetched attempts to encourage relationships, including this "Kissinger" (real name) — a kissing simulator developed by a local tech firm called Lovotics. Real talk: the prototype looks a lot like a giant plastic egg that looks a lot like a faceless Mr. Potato Head with Kate Moss' lips. Which is maybe not the sexiest thing ever. But thanks to the the addition of less realistic puckers and cartoonish facial features, the later versions are slightly less creepy—version 1.0 has morphed into a pig/cow crossbreed, while the latest iteration resembles an overly earnest anime character.

Anyway, this is how it works: lean in for a smooch, and your partner's Kissinger will mimic the exact motions of your own puckers via some clever robotics and the internet. And vice versa on your partner's side. Which means you'll get a 100% accurate make-out session with a robot that "kisses just like he does." Awwww.

Unfortunately, Lovotics hasn't released this product yet, stating the need to first "minimize the creepiness" and cover "ethical and technical considerations." Which suddenly made us realize that, among other things, this thing is actually a sex toy in disguise.

For Actually Like… Doing It

These internet-connection-required pleasure devices do exactly what you'd imagine: let you and your partner do the deed while miles apart. It comes in two parts: the "Hera" for girls and "Zeus" for guys, which fit over (or into) your bits. After getting your respective, Bluetooth-enabled devices "positioned," both of you just have to fire up the app on your phone and start wiggling around. Motion-sensing technology relays the corresponding pressure, tightness and speed (yech) both ways, which supposedly recreates the sexy sensations in a super-realistic way.

Buzz about this "revolutionary" device exploded last month when its two creators hopped on the internet to crowd-source some funding after their proposal was rejected by Kickstarter. So far, over 4,000 people have pledged donations through their site is very-awkwardly worded, by the way (ex. "Act now to participate in the revolution of virtual sex or you will regret it forever!!"). Oh, and you can also opt for a 24K gold pair for 10,000 clams, with a customized name inscribed on them. Which obviously should be your too-damn-cute Reddit nicknames for each other.