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Idle Science Technology

Japanese Build a Virtual Hugging Vest 79

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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  • 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 [] in the 1960s

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:45PM (#31780134)

    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 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, regardless of the beliefs of flamers like yourself who appear primarily into tearing other people down.

  • Re:ASD (Score:3, Informative)

    by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:19PM (#31780596) Homepage

    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 some warlike actions, and it certainly desensitizes soldiers to warlike situations.

  • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:2, Informative)

    by spidey3 ( 570347 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @03:46PM (#31780954)

    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...

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