It’s a struggle that many couples in long-distance relationships face, but months without a kiss could finally be a thing of the past – thanks to a bizarre new invention.

Created by an engineer in China, the ‘miracle’ device has a moving silicon mouthpiece that lets you kiss your partner remotely.

Sensors mimic the pressure, movement and heat of your partner’s lips while even transmitting smooching sounds to make it as realistic as possible.

People can also use the device when the recipient is nearby but physical contact is not an option – for example, if someone has a mouth infection or a disease such as Covid.

Scientists have already been working on bringing kissing to the ‘metaverse’ – the virtual shared space that’s accessible via the internet.

The ‘long-distance lovers miracle kissing device’ was invented and patented by the Changzhou Vocational Institute of Mechatronic Technology in eastern China.

‘In my university, I was in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend,’ Jiang Zhongli, one of the inventors, told the Global Times.

‘We only had contact with each other through the phone – that’s where the inspiration of this device originated.’

Because it’s connected to the internet, it works however far away the two people are.

Users insert their smartphone into the top of the device and start ‘recording’ their smooch by kissing the device’s lips.

When they’re finished they can upload and save their kiss to an accompanying app before it’s sent to the recipient – a bit like sending a WhatsApp message.

The fake lips on the recipient’s device recreate the movements of their partner’s kiss while transmitting noises – if they made any.

According to South China Morning Post, one set of lips is priced at 260 yuan (£30 or $38) or 550 yuan (£66 or $80) for a pair on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao.

Customer feedback so far has varied.

One buyer said: My partner didn’t believe [remote kissing] could be achieved at first, so her jaw dropped when she used it.

‘This is the best surprise I have given her during our long-distance relationship’, the post said.

‘Thank you technology.’

A user on social networking platform Weibo also said: ‘I don’t understand but I’m utterly shocked.’

Another offered a slightly more intimate suggestion for the next version of the technology.

‘It’s a wonderful invention, but where’s the tongue?’ they posted to Weibo.

According to Jiang, the creation promotes only monogamous relationships – those with only one partner at a time, rather than multiple partners.

This is because it can only pair one sender and one receiver at a time, preventing amorous singletons from making out with several other users.

Jiang is now hoping to partner with interested companies that can help him expand and perfect the design.

He claims that 100 devices are already being sold through Taobao every month, but hopes to ramp up production and sales.

The gadget is similar to ‘Kissinger’, a Malaysian invention that has a touch-sensitive silicon pad.

But by creating a set of lips, Jiang’s device offers more realism for remote couples.

Virtual kissing is set to be the next big frontier for virtual reality and especially the metaverse, the concept of a shared virtual space that’s being pioneered by Mark Zuckerberg’s firm Meta.

Researchers in Pennsylvania have already adapted a virtual reality headset so it lets people kiss in the metaverse.

A thin array of sensors integrated into the underside of the headset direct ultrasound energy at different parts of the mouth, including the lips, teeth and tongue.

Remote kissing may be proving popular largely due to China’s ‘Zero-Covid’ approach to the pandemic over the past three years.

The policy, enforced by President Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Part (CCP), has involved strict lockdowns, regular PCR tests and long quarantines.

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