Anyone who’s been in a long-distance relationship knows that not being able to touch your partner for weeks or months at a time is one of the toughest parts.
While technology has caught up in other arenas — video chatting has never been easier and apps that help you find cheap travel are a dime a dozen — long-distance touch is essentially the final frontier.
To help solve that problem, a Dutch tech company called House of Haptics has created the Hey bracelet, a wearable that lets you send touch over long distances.
Before your mind descends into the gutter, the Hey bracelet is not a sex toy. It’s worn on your wrist and is meant to simulate a “gentle squeeze,” not a vibration or buzzing sensation.
The Hey bracelet launched on Kickstarter about a month ago, and is not yet available to purchase. While there’s no guarantee it will ever come to fruition, here’s how the House of Haptics team envisions it working.
The Hey bracelet comes in two colours: white and rose gold, or black and anthracite. The company plans to add red, blue, and green if it reaches its stretch goal of 2,000 backers on Kickstarter.
When you order a set, it comes with two bracelets (one for you and one for your partner) plus a charging cable for each bracelet.
The bracelets pair with your phone via Bluetooth. When you send a touch to someone, it's sent to the Hey app on your phone, which is then transferred to your partner's app and the other bracelet.
Eventually, the Hey app will run on both Android and iOS, the company says.
In order to send a touch, you have to press in two places on the bracelet. This ensures that you'll never send a touch accidentally, the company says.
It takes about 30 minutes to charge Hey, which the company says is enough to last for three weeks. The bracelet it also weatherproof, so no worries if it gets wet by accident.
The touch isn't meant to feel like a phone's vibrate mode -- instead, it's haptic technology, which means it gives real-time, tactile feedback, similar to force touch on iPhone.
A Hey message is 'intimate and private,' the company says. You'll be the only one who notices that you're getting a message, so you can use it before a big exam, while watching your and your partner's favourite show, or getting ready for a job interview.
House of Haptics built its first prototype in early 2016 and launched its Kickstarter in February 2017. The company hopes to ship the first set of bracelets by August of this year.
With 26 more days to go on its Kickstarter campaign, the company has raised more than $94,000 of its $132,026 goal.
By pledging about $79 USD, you'll get a bracelet package. The company says that price is about 40% off the retail price, meaning the bracelets will eventually sell for about $US127.
This technology aims to solve a real problem for long-distance couples and could at the very least be fun to test out. But like any Kickstarter project, invest at your own risk.