We admit to being sort of creeped out by this: A Japanese lab has created a device that may let let you "French kiss" someone over the Internet.
And by "kiss," we mean waggle your tongue on a plastic straw, thereby making another plastic straw waggle remotely on someone else's tongue.
Well, the folks at Tokyo's Kajimoto Laboratory say it's just the beginning of what could become a full-on person-to-person experience over the Internet.
The lab, part of The University of Electro-Communications, posted a video in which a researcher demonstrates the "Kiss Transmission Device." It's a motorized box that looks a little like a police Breathalyzer.
Watch the video of the "Kiss Transmission Device"
In the video, Nobuhiro Takahashi, a graduate student and researcher at the university, manipulates the plastic tube on one device with his tongue. A program stores the movements on a computer and then transmits them to another device, causing its tube to move -- presumably in someone else's mouth.
The idea is to help lovers -- in long-distance relationships, say -- by transmitting the tactile sensation of kissing from one person to another. The lab is running both devices on the same computer, but says a system could be set up to connect them via the Web.
"Kiss information" can be recorded and replayed, presumably meaning someone could save and share a "kiss" over and over.
"For example, if you have a popular entertainer use this device and record it, that could be hugely popular if you offer it to fans," Takahashi says. (Can you say, "Justin Bieber"?)
The researchers seem to realize that most people might not exactly find licking a plastic tube a suitable replacement for sucking face. But there are refinements on the way, they say.
"The elements of a kiss include the sense of taste, the manner of breathing and the moistness of the tongue," Takahashi said. "If we can re-create all of those, I think it will be a really powerful device."