Nobuhiro Takahashi describes his K-LRMCD kiss transmission device as the beginning of what could become a complete person-to-person physical experience over the Internet. Takahashi is a graduate student at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo working out of the university’s Kajimoto Laboratory. And yet, even though it is a graduate student project at a small university in a Tokyo suburb, several news services have reported the young man’s work as if he were a Project Chairman at the National Academy of Sciences. More accurately, the research and work being done by Takahashi and his team of fellow grad students is nothing more groundbreaking than a fun science project aimed at helping students learn how to do precision studies in research and development. The interesting part is, when word gets out to certain ‘toy’ manufacturers funding will pour in and a fun school project will be taken to bestselling heights.
In this picture Nobuhiro Takahashi manipulates the plastic tube on the box-like K-LRMCD device with his tongue, causing an identical tube on partner device to mirror the movements of Takahashi’s tongue. A computer program records and stores the movements as the individual’s French kissing techniques. Those ‘kissing’ techniques can then be labeled, replayed and shared with others interested in that person’s kiss. Takahashi imagines pop stars and models recording their ‘kisses’ which could then be sold like other pop memorabilia to legions of fans. (Shades of a Japanese otaku (nerd) in dreamland.)
Takahashi and his team of student developers assure reporters that refinements are upcoming, realizing that most of us won’t find licking a plastic tube an enticing substitute for the real thing. “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 recreate all of those, I think it will be a really powerful device.” For now the prototype machine looks like a big box of juice with a straw sticking out of the top. The idea is to help lovers in long-distance relationships by transmitting the tactile sensation of kissing from one person to another.
Fast forward a couple of years and imagine Takahashi’s Stage IV K-LRMCD replacing the creepy and sexless plastic straw and box with life-size his-her ‘models’ featuring soft lips and a slithery pink tongue. Without at all meaning to characterize Japanese culture or the Japanese, a “toy” like this might find a big audience. They could sell a million of them on Japan’s X-rated online shock-shopping site Kanojo Toys.