An inventor in China who created a kissing machine after COVID lockdowns prevented him from seeing his girlfriend has already sold thousands in just weeks – despite criticism over its lack of tongue.
“I was in a relationship back then, but I couldn’t meet my girlfriend due to lockdowns,” inventor Zhao Jianbo said according to Reuters.
Zhao was a student at the Beijing Film Academy when he came up with the idea, and based his graduate project around the lack of physical intimacy between couples during lockdown phone calls.
China rolled out some of the most strict lockdown orders in the world, enacting a zero-tolerance policy on coronavirus outbreaks, meaning residents were often locked in their apartments and homes in an effort to keep the virus from spreading.
Zhao teamed up with Beijing-based company Siweifushe, which released the MUA kissing machine on Jan. 22. MUA is named after the sound when someone blows a kiss to someone else, Reuters reported.
A couple must download an app to engage the machines, and link the two MUA devices together. It activates when kissed and kisses back.
The machine comes in different colors with a pair of silicon unisex lips, and sells for about $38 when converted from its 260 yuan price in China, Reuters reported.
More than 3,000 MUA machines were sold within two weeks of hitting the market, while another 20,000 orders have been made, Zhao claimed.
However, some users have criticized the machine, mostly for its lack of tongue, while others say the device makes them uncomfortable.
Some have also argued the device could be used for pornographic purposes.
Zhao said that the company complies with China’s strict regulations on erotic online content, but that “there’s little we can do as for how people use the device.”