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Idle Science Technology

Japanese Build a Virtual Hugging Vest 79

Posted by samzenpus
from the cold-embrace dept.
If your only human contact is through a little computer window in a poorly lit room, your life just got a little sadder thanks to Dzmitry Tsetserukou, an assistant professor at Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan. He has designed a collection of motors, sensors, and speakers, stitched into what looks like the straps of a backpack, called the iFeel_IM. The device can simulate a heart beat, the tickling sensation of a butterflies in your stomach, generate warmth and hug even the most repugnant shut-in. From the article: "The quickened thump of an angry heart beat, a spine-tingling chill of fear, or that warm-all-over sensation sparked by true love -- all can be felt even as your eyes stay glued to a computer screen." This device is not to be confused with the hugging vest created by engineers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for people with anxiety disorders and the autistic.

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Japanese Build a Virtual Hugging Vest

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @01:10PM (#31778528)

    The breakthrough, of course, were certain undisclosed details of the two expandable bladders on the upper part of the vest. May or may not have added to realism, but "users didn't care".

    • by MRe_nl (306212)

      The REAL hug secret
      http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41X11XJ3FRL._SS500_.jpg [images-amazon.com]

      This review is from: Alien Life-Sized Facehugger Plush (Toy)

      "On those cold rainy lonely nights every good colonist or marine needs some thing to snuggle up to, and this fits the bill perfectly! What is more comforting than your own personal facehugger? Fully articulated legs and tail ensure a proper grip, so there will be no escape"!

  • JPod (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xerocint (1631371)
    Like that thing in JPod...?
  • ... this female android [slashdot.org] is wearing one? Does that mean she no longer needs her 'flesh and blood' master? 1,000's of geeks best chances for getting lucky skyrocket and then nosedive in less than one week. Technology is such a tempting roller coaster.
  • 10 years of smoking and damnit I'm still alive, dammit I hoped I would skip watching my kids fuck robots [hulu.com]. I'm not looking to that Guess who is coming to Dinner homage.
  • The griefers will love it.

  • ASD (Score:2, Interesting)

    All jokes aside, this is probably going to be a very useful tool for care of Austistic Spectrum Disorders. Getting used to human intimacy through training and gradual introductions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Iron Condor (964856)
      So wait - artificial physical contact generated by a computer can desensitize people from their real fear of being touched?
      But artificial mayhem in video games generated by a computer does not desensitize them against real violence?

      Somewhere, a behavioral psychologist is quietly crying...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689)

        So wait - artificial physical contact generated by a computer can desensitize people from their real fear of being touched?
        But artificial mayhem in video games generated by a computer does not desensitize them against real violence?
        Somewhere, a behavioral psychologist is quietly crying...

        Your upbringing and society (usually) set appropriate boundaries on violent behavior.

        You can't even begin to compare a subset of the population with heavy duty anxiety and/or various spectrum disorders to the average person playing video games. If you want to compare anxiety and/or spectrum disorders with sociopaths, you might be on the right road to a valid comparison.

        You just can't claim that certain types of stimuli will equally effect those inside and outside the psychological norm.

      • Re:ASD (Score:5, Funny)

        by Chris Mattern (191822) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:15PM (#31779626)

        Somewhere, a behavioral psychologist is quietly crying...

        But only because he was trained to do so whenever a bell rings.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by forkazoo (138186)

        So wait - artificial physical contact generated by a computer can desensitize people from their real fear of being touched?
        But artificial mayhem in video games generated by a computer does not desensitize them against real violence?

        Somewhere, a behavioral psychologist is quietly crying...

        If playing Quake actually felt like getting shot or shooting, then yes, I expect that people who played lots of Quake would get desensitized to real violence. Basic Training puts a soldier through a vague simulation of som

      • Somewhere, a behavioral psychologist is quietly crying...

        Better get them a virtual hugging vest. They'll feel better in no time.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        'Video game violence' isn't as similar to real-life violence.

        OTOH, presumably the artificial physical contact generated by the computer is physically close to the real thing (a lot close to the real thing than artificial game violence is to real violence).

  • Fembots (Score:4, Funny)

    by NonUniqueNickname (1459477) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @01:18PM (#31778650)
    We all know where this is headed. Sooner or later someone in Japan will build an anatomically correct schoolgirl android and pay her to put her panties in a vending machine so he could buy the panties and sniff them alone in his apartment... so alone.
  • Nothing New Here (Score:3, Informative)

    by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @01:27PM (#31778800) Journal

    Temple Grandin, an animal welfare advocate and autistic, invented a hug machine [wikipedia.org] in the 1960s

    • Was this claimed to be something new?

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by radtea (464814)

      Temple Grandin, an animal welfare advocate and autistic

      In fairness to the current researchers, igoring previous work from someone who is known primarily as a marketing genius who can sell absurd ideas to the incredibly credulous is probably not a big oversight.

      I mean really, claiming that you can think like a cow because you're autistic? Yet somehow she has managed to sell that idiotic idea, to the extent of turning her personal brand into a highly lucrative business. Apparently no one has bothered to ask any cows if she thinks like them, which would be the o

      • thinking like a cow (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        in Grandin's line of work, means being able to predict what a cow will do in a given situation. A famous example is trouble that the cow industry had in giving cows baths. The cows were supposed to walk up a ramp and step into a sunken cow-sized bathtub full of cow-cleaning solution (I'm surely not using the proper cow jargon here, but it doesn't matter). They got nervous and fidgety and fought with each other and caused time-consuming hassle during this operation. Grandin figured out that the cows reac

        • by bar-agent (698856)

          Grandin figured out that the cows reacted badly to the prospect of slipping on the ramp, so she told the bathtub crew to add a non-slip surface, which fixed the problem, smoothing out and speeding up the operation and saving the cow guys a lot of money. She did all kinds of similar things in other areas of cow processing. THAT is why she is able to get paid the big bucks, for repeated demonstrable success at solving actual practical cow problems

          It's like that story about the consultant who came in to fix a

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by spidey3 (570347)

      Agreed -- but I would hardly call Temple Grandin an "animal welfare advocate" - given that she principally uses her intuitive understanding of animal behavior to make a living designing cattle handling systems for feed lots and slaughterhouses...

      • I would hardly call Temple Grandin an "animal welfare advocate"

        Yeah, I get your point. That's what she considers herself, though, and I wasn't sure how else to label her beyond "autistic slaughterhouse designer," which isn't really an adequate description. I think that her opinion on the matter is that as long as there are going to be slaughterhouses, they might as well be as humane as possible, which is where the "animal welfare" part figures in.

  • Just build a damn pr0n doll already. These "robotics researchers" are dancing around the bush (figuratively and literally) using odd justifications. We don't want a hug or a Walmart greeter, we want to [beep] something perdy.

    • My toilet baroque; it's all Bach'd up despite jiggling the Handel.

      That's what you get from 325 year old plumbing. Time to upgrade.

    • by LBt1st (709520)

      Not quite a robot but internet sex toys do exist, http://highjoy.com/ [highjoy.com]

      No replacement for the real thing of course but if your partner is out of town you can still uh, interact ;)

  • by e2d2 (115622)

    Bear hug bitch! I'm gonna squeeze your brains out remotely.

  • Looks like women can turn that vest around for a different kind of experience.

  • Those wacky Japanese are at it again, I see.

    First beer and panties in vending machines, then anatomically correct androids, and now this? Poor, deprived people.

  • Oh my God, this is sad.

    Computers are really bad for a lot of people. Get outside and interact with actual people in the sunlight.

  • That's actually pretty sad
  • Old idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jspenguin1 (883588)

    Now, if they just create the face-stab [bash.org] model...

  • Combine this with the GameCrush.com [gamecrush.com] orrrrrr ChatRoulette.com [chatroulette.com] and you have yourself one hell of a party and pants area excitement.
  • The Japanese will build a Virtual Tentacle Raping Schoolgirl Mini-Skirt?
  • <lonelynerd>Someone hug me!</lonelynerd>
  • by davidwr (791652)

    Somehow I envision a bunch of smiling tweenage Japanese schoolgirls in an Internet cafe each wearing one of these emblazoned with a Hello Kitty logo staring at the avatar of their boyfriend who is sitting at a nearby computer in the very same cafe.

  • FuFme! http://www.welookdoyou.com/fufme/ [welookdoyou.com] A bit outdated though, laptop version would be great.
  • This summary doesn't accurately describe the intention of this device.
    It was actually mentioned in my human-computer interactions class.
    The idea is that a long-distance couple wears these vests and one of the couple can trigger the other couple's vest to simulate a hug.
    So it's a way for long-distance couples to deal with being away from each other for a while.
    A little silly, but a cute idea.
  • TFA is trying to make the reader think along the lines of the device promoting greater interactivity while online; but I immediately thought of the first wave of humans in Asimov's universe - the ones who lived in complete isolation from each other (with robots as their sole companions), and who experienced dreadful anxiety and thoughts of revulsion when faced with meeting another human in person.

    I don't really like that universe... I'm not sure we should be making it easier for people to avoid interacting

  • Leonard Hoffsteader built one when he was a kid, because his mother wouldn't hug him. Apparently his father used to borrow it.
  • It looks like I'm finally going to be getting a life!
  • It's only a matter of time before they start integrating gravitational hyper-crystals [pbfcomics.com] into the design.
  • When we got our Golden Retriever puppy (Meg) wife put a ticking clock into a yellow sock. Theory was that the puppy would sleep better with a local "heart-beaty" sort of sound. She (puppy) loved in and now throws it around the room.

    Not sure what this means but I'm sure it's related.

    No excuse for the Dr Seuss hidden reference, btw.

  • by kheldan (1460303)
    This is a sad little product, developed by sad little people for a sad little world that's just getting sadder. Go out, meet people, talk to them, listen to them, get real hugs! Everybody talks about how the internet connects people, but all I see is it making it easier to stay disconnected from actual people!
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:39PM (#31782972)

    Looking back at lonelier episodes in my life and looking at the lonely episodes, sometimes decades, of others I notice the habit of notably more frequent hot bathing during those times. I've come to find that a warm bath is a suprisingly good substitute for the physical and emotional warmth of a sustained intimate embrace. (Gee, I can't believe how technical that sentence sounds ...)

    I'm quite sure that many people subconsciously chose a warm bath as a substitute without really being aware of it. I don't think this vest can beat that. Or a mammal pet, for that matter - the more obvious choice of human substitute for the socially handicapped.

    • Looking back at lonelier episodes in my life and looking at the lonely episodes,

      ... we can definitely see that the lonelier episodes were definitely lonelier than the lonely episodes, which were only lonely. Sometimes millenia.

    • I've come to find that a warm bath is a suprisingly good substitute for the physical and emotional warmth of a sustained intimate embrace.

      That's because warm baths remind you (unconsciously) of the good old times in momma's womb.

  • by gamecrusader (1684024) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:34PM (#31784238)

    just leave it to the japanesee to build electronics which are little strange and pointless

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