Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Engineering a Kiss

PostedFebruary 12, 2012

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Anchor Lede: As Valentine’s Day approaches, you might be thinking about how you’ll give that special kiss to a loved one. But did you know scientists are actually studying the process?

Randy Atkins: Understanding a kiss – from the biochemistry to the mechanics – may help advance technologies in areas like virtual reality, medicine, and robotics says Sheril Kirshenbaum of the University of Texas. She wrote a book called “The Science of Kissing.”

Sheril Kirshenbaum: There’s a lot that happens in our brains and in our bodies and I think that, especially in robotics, engineers are interested in mirroring some of those effects.

Randy Atkins: For example, one study showed that, no matter what hand we prefer, when kissing…

Sheril Kirshenbaum: …two-thirds of us tilt our heads to the right.

Randy Atkins: And she says now Japanese researchers have created a device that transmits kisses over the internet.

Sheril Kirshenbaum: Whatever they were doing with their mouths were supposed to be simulated at the other end.

Randy Atkins: So one day you might not even need be with your Valentine to exchange a kiss. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

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