Valentine's Day is almost upon us, the time when couples make up for a year of passive aggression in a single evening. You're obviously intelligent. You don't just do red roses and chocolates. It's the worst evening to book a restaurant dinner. Here are some more interesting (but SFW) options to keep the romance alive.
Pillow Talk brings back the intimacy to long-distance relationships through the use of a wristband that picks up your heartbeat and sends it, in real time, to your loved one. They can listen to your heartbeat in your pillow and they can hear yours.
It's the brainchild of UK entrepreneur Joanna Montgomery
"It's amazing that we can constantly message each other on smart phones, or sit on video calls, but why shouldn't we be able to feel connected to our loved ones? We made Pillow Talk because emoticons and pixelated video calls just don't really cut it."
The Hug Shirt
The HugShirt was invented by Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz, the co-founders of wearables fashion house CuteCircuit.The shirt is embedded with sensors that feel the strength, duration, and location of the touch, the skin warmth and the heartbeat rate of the sender and actuators that recreate the sensation of touch, warmth and emotion of the hug to the Hug Shirt of the distant loved one. The Hug Shirt records a hug like you would record a movie and delivers the data to your mobile via Bluetooth through the app and then your hug is transmitted over the network to your partner's phone and it is seamlessly transmitted via Bluetooth to their Hug Shirt.
Happy Couple is a great quiz style app for getting to know your partner better and facilitating greater communication between you and your loved one. It's the brainchild of CEO and founder Julien Robert who I had the pleasure of meeting last year in Helsinki. The game originated after Julien's efforts in "applying start-up principles to my own relationship" and really his own story is classic romance for tech entrepreneurs: French Julien (serial entrepreneur) met his American girlfriend Erin Johnson (former Google employee) on Tinder while living in San Francisco. They moved in a month later and their relationship has survived the challenge of visa restrictions, long-distance loving as they now happily reside together in Berlin.
Unlike other start-ups, the team includes cofounder Dr. Lonnie Barbach, a couple’s therapist and author of international best-sellers on sex and relationships. She brings this expertise to the game’s content," Robert says. The game's development including plenty of research including hundreds of couples being interviewed on their relationships and being sent weekly surveys for six months. It's a neat combination of gamification and "deep and meaningful" content, including a quiz-style game and daily tips and challenges. Last weekend it hit the number one spot on French health and fitness chart for iPhone.
Kissenger is possibly the weirdest connected device I've seen yet. It's what the company likes to call "embodied emotional communication hardware." The idea is that you kiss away on your Kissinger and the touch-sensitive device sends the movements to another Kissinger held by your distant loved one. That Kissinger moves its own lips in response. The lips are made from silicone and the kissing critter makes a sort of buzzing noise when it replicates a smooch. I've heard it described as "a bit like kissing a vibrator." If you're not sure what I'm actually talking about or just want to know more, I'd encourage you to check out the video for a giggle. It could be worse, the original prototype featured a cow and a rabbit.
Want to make your message last forever? Whilst there's a certain romance in carving your initials in a tree or naming a star after your beloved, another way to declare your love is to embed in the block chain. Eternity Wall is a ledger of messages embedded in the blockchain. There are over 5 thousands copies of this ledger all around the world and soon it will also be in space. Even if this site goes down or disappears, your message is guaranteed to persist for generations to come.
The awkwardly phonetically named Klikaklu app enables you to create a fun treasure hunt or geocaching event for your partner without too much hard work. Include fun places you've spent time together, some thoughtful clues and small gifts and end it with a romantic picnic or dinner for two at featuring their favorite cuisine.
Single And Looking For Love?
My friends tell me how hard it is being single in the age of Tinder. All that time getting your hopes up for someone who is flaky or unavailable...For those still looking for love, app Whim cuts to the chase and sets up actual dates avoiding the risk of endless texting without ever meeting. Users plug in when they’re free, who they like on the app, and when Whim finds two mutually interested daters it arranges the meet. Only when users are set up for a date in a mutually agreed upon time and place are they able to chat. Creator Eve Peters formerly worked for OkCupid.
Less painful that a 'bring a single friend' party, dating app Hingematches only users who share Facebook friends. Every day at noon, the app sends a list of potential matches culled from one’s Facebook network.
Even Functional Tech Can Be Romantic
Are you wondering what I might like for Valentine's Day? As some of you might know, I'm Australian and I live in Germany. Neither are countries where Valentine's Day is celebrated to any extent.
I attracted a look of horror from my husband when I said my dream Valentine's Day gift was a Roomba. Vacuuming is my most loathed cleaning task and the notion that a robot could do it for me (perhaps even with the cat sitting on it, the cause of the need for vacuuming in the first place) is very pleasing.
Seriously, even the most functional of gadgets can be romantic if its presented in the right way. A mobile that's already been set up with lots of notes and photos. A camera full of happy snaps. A kindle full of love poems and books by the recipient's favorite authors. Include a thoughtful card with the gift.And if you get it wrong, don't worry you've got 364 days of being reminded of it to get it right for next year.