posted in: Media

By Emma Yann Zhang , Adrian David Cheok



This research looks into sharing intimacy and emotion in digital communication

through mediated physical interactions, kissing in particular. It aims to extend our

sense of touch by creating an interactive kissing machine that produces dynamic haptic

force feedback and other sensory stimuli to transmit realistic kissing sensations

over a telecommunication network. The research takes a novel approach to affective

communication by constructing a mathematical model of kissing, including the forces,

dynamics and bilateral control of the forces to enable remote kissing in a communication



A multimodal interactive system for remote kissing interaction is developed. The

kissing device is designed as an attachment device for mobile phones, allowing users

to kiss each other remotely while having a video chat using their mobile phones. It

measures and transmits real-time lip pressure over the Internet. The device consists

of force sensors that measure the the contact force between the lip surface of the

device and the user’s lips, as well as a linear actuator array to produce accurate force

feedback and lip movements during user interaction. A bilateral force controller is

used such that both users feel the reflections of their own lip forces as well as the

forces from each other. The system also engages the sense of smell by emitting body

scents or pheromones from the device.


The system provides a new communication channel for people to share intimacy

and affection through remote physical interaction. It engages a wide spectrum of our

sensory modalities, including touch and smell, thereby increasing the sense of telepresence

and allowing for deep emotional exchanges. While face-to-face interaction is

not always available in this increasingly globalised society, this system also offers an

effective and intuitive way for parents and grandparents to communicate with young

children who have limited language abilities, as well as with people with physical disabilities

or communication disorders. The outcome of this research could also make a

great impact in the area of robotics and artificial intelligence. The digitisation of kissing

provides exciting opportunities for human-robot relationships or even robot-robot

relationships. Robots will be able to possess emotional intelligence and learn to understand

the emotional meaning and pleasure of kissing, hence establishing intimate

and humanistic relationships.