A heart-shaped gadget from Japan lets long-distance lovers feel like they're holding hands.
Nothing says "long distance relationship" like waiting months on end just to hold your partner's hand. Miserable, right? Enter 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.
Here's how it works: you and your long-distance lover each get 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. Other applications in the parent I_FeelIM system include HaptiTickler and HaptiButterfly, which reproduce the fluttery stomach feeling, while HaptiHeart transmits emotion. The technology's a little weird, but we suppose that after months of separation, a bluetooth heartbeat and a hug from a vest are better than nothing.
What technology do you/would you use to help your long-distance relationship?