EDIT: *This was a joke piece for April Fool’s Day, 2013*
From global marriage databases to punch-packing flowers, new and exciting technologies are taking the relationship world by storm. Theron Mohamed reports on the latest love innovations.
1. Power to the Parents
At long last, mums and dads will have total control of their offspring’s dating lives.
Parents Choice, a joint initiative between the World Health Organization and Match.com, will offer adults the chance to enroll their children for a $50 fee in a global marriage market database.
It’s a powerful solution to a universal information problem: with seven billion people walking the Earth’s surface, how can your kids ever find someone who suits their tastes, and more importantly, yours?
On the day a child is born, and each subsequent year, parents will take them to one of 500 Parents’ Choice offices worldwide and enter details about their physical measurements, educational attainment, promiscuity, frequency of flossing, and most importantly, what the family wants for them.
When a child turns 18, employees will use an algorithm to scour 150 national databases for a suitable match. When it finds one, the lucky boy or girl will be escorted by a security team (who also double as wedding chaplains) to their data-determined soulmate.
Parents Choice takes the risks and randomness out of the marriage search, and ensures an appropriate partnership that works for everyone. What’s not to love?
2. Scent of a Woman (Or Man)
Flowers could soon do more than just sit there and look pretty, thanks to a crack team of Swiss scientists.
At the Olfactory Labs in Geneva, Switzerland, researchers want to revolutionize the plants-as-gifts industry by adding a new feature: customized pheromones.
These chemicals are produced naturally in both animals and humans, giving us a unique smell signature to help identify genetically-desirable mates. Pheromones have also been shown to boost attractiveness on a primal level.
Now that cut flowers will come equipped with a pheromone release mechanism, taking a whiff will carry a far greater risk of falling in love than usual.
If your crush has never noticed you, lacing their potted plants with a calculated mix of smells could leave them head-over-heels in desire.
Hungry for office romance? Spike the cactus by the water cooler, and things will heat up quickly.
A dozen Rowdy Roses, the cheapest option, will cost customers $100.
Olfactory Labs have also proposed other uses for their new technology: innocuous garden flowers could spray intruders with Eau de Skunk, marking them as criminals or lovelorn admirers.
Rather than a clown’s bouquet squirting water in your face, it could shoot a heady combination of chemicals.
However the innovation is used, the results will make Lynx adverts look positively tame in comparison.
3D printing is the game-changer in design and manufacturing, but its potential in the romance market has remained unrealized until now.
New kid on the block LoveClone has proposed an intriguing concept: allow civilians to assemble a male or female android companion.
The risk of a Terminator-style takeover aside, the technology could shift us away from the cat lady paradigm. Lonely or workaholic men and women could “print” a friend or lover (LoveClone offers all the requisite parts, including warm skin and speakers), rather than moping at a bar and bemoaning their existence.
Those in long-distance relationships could enter their partners’ details and create the next-best thing – a giant step forward from the boyfriend pillow.
Robots could also be programmed for housework, deliver flowers or eat dinner with your family if you’re stuck at the office. If your boo wants to watch a rom-com and you want to watch the game, clone one another and worry no longer.
LoveClone offers a choice of four skin tones (black, white, brown and yellow) and 12 languages, and more options are on their way. But the company has run into trouble in creating realistic emotions – the machines often come across as sarcastic rather than empathetic.
Manufactured partners will cost a hefty $5,000, but this figure should fall as the technology takes off.
4. Forget Trust, now you can Read Frickin’ Minds!
Are long nights at the office and mysterious work trips raising questions about your partner’s fidelity? Worry no longer! With SleazeScan, you can know your significant other’s thoughts and actions, often before they do.
Neurotic Lovers, a New York support group, has got its hands on a microchip the size of an iPod Shuffle that can be implanted in a person’s scalp.
SleazeScan monitors brain waves and chemical releases, allowing the controller to see how their partner is feeling every moment of the day. It can alert you if they’re smoking a cigarette, sleeping around, faking an orgasm, or lying about not doing the dishes.
The technology is still in development, and the device is easy to misread. For instance,the release of dopamine, the brain’s “reward” or “happy” chemical, could be the result of hotel room lovemaking or eating a Big Mac.
With temptation at every turn, SleazeScan is a win for critics everywhere. Rather than relying on blind faith, users can arm themselves with 20/20 truth vision.
5. Reaching Out
The cinema has always been a couple’s retreat, a place to escape from friends and family for a couple of hours alone. But if Parisian tech firm CineTouch has its way, the big screen will become much more than a passive shared experience.
Building on the success of 3D movies and the rising popularity of “active” dates like bumper cars or cooking classes, CineTouch plans to make going to the movies a truly immersive experience.
Their barely believable innovation is the interactive movie screen: rather than sitting back and watching the action on the screen, you can reach in and touch the actors or landscapes.
The technology will allow you to hold a handful of sand, or run your hand along a Ferrari’s curves. There’s something for you and your companion: you can caress Bradley Cooper’s abs, pet a Bengal tiger or stroke Scarlett Johansson’s cheeks (which pair is up to you).
Although characters won’t touch you back, the new tech has pants-wetting potential for horror movies. Imagine reaching out and grasping the hand of the girl from The Ring, or running your hand along the cold, blood-splattered skin of a vampire. That kind of spine-tingling excitement is sure to have fearful couples in each other’s arms.
The screens aren’t currently planned for home use, but could be in your local Cineplex as early as 2015.