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Japanese Build a Virtual Hugging Vest

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the cold-embrace dept.

Idle 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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The real hug secret (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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".

Re:The real hug secret (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779446)

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"!

Re:The real hug secret (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780118)

Aw come on, you posted a picture of an item that can't be bought. [amazon.com]

    My little girl would love it. She's 3, and has absolutely no fears. I'm sure she'd torment the neighbor kids with it though. :)

Next gen Hug Box (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31778550)

For retar^H^H^H aspies.

JPod (2, Insightful)

xerocint (1631371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778556)

Like that thing in JPod...?

Re:JPod (2, Interesting)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779204)

I was just thinking that. I loved the book [wikipedia.org] , and liked the TV series [wikipedia.org] . Too bad CBC killed it.

What Happens If ... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778572)

... 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.

Jesus, 10 years of smoking (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778584)

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.

"Second Life"? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778616)

The griefers will love it.

ASD (2, Interesting)

daniel.waterfield (960460) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778624)

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:ASD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31779030)

Getting used to human intimacy through training and gradual introductions.

Hookers and blackjack?

Re:ASD (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780162)

I think you forgot booze and cigars. There's no real reason to only introduce two of the four best things in life.

    Ahhh, I miss Vegas.

Re:ASD (2, Insightful)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779054)

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:ASD (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779522)

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 (5, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779626)

Somewhere, a behavioral psychologist is quietly crying...

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

Re:ASD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31779704)

That's a stupid comparison. With this thing you're actually, physically being touched by something (even if it's not actually a person). With a video game, you're clicking or pushing a button, not actually holding/aiming a gun/knife/baseball bat.

Re:ASD (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780110)

Give it five years

Re:ASD (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31784222)

Right.

I'll [geeked.info] just [arcademachinesales.co.uk] leave [worldofstock.com] these [slipperybrick.com] here [geeky-gadgets.com] .

Note that I don't really have any problem with violent video games, per se, I just wanted to provide some crystal clear counter examples to your assertion.

I have a (vaguely-defined) threshold for what I consider acceptable, but I won't be out proposing legislation or other censoring measures. Personally, it's more an issue of the overall tone of the game, rather than a body count or how graphic the violence is, that determines whether or not I consider a game appropriate. I'm a big fan of the Half-Life series, (for example) but don't find much enjoyment in Max Payne. (Although that may be as much to do with the gameplay as the violence; I prefer more puzzle-oriented games to the marginally-interactive movie.)

Re:ASD (2, Informative)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780596)

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:ASD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31780920)

Somewhere, a behavioral psychologist is quietly crying...

at your poorly reasoned comparison.

Re:ASD (1)

melchoir55 (218842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31783656)

Somewhere, a behavioral psychologist is quietly crying...

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

Re:ASD (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31784314)

'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 (3, Funny)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (2, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778800)

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

Re:Nothing New Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31778882)

Yes, only this is different(new).

Re:Nothing New Here (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778916)

Was this claimed to be something new?

Re:Nothing New Here (1, Flamebait)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779410)

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 only reasonable way to ascertain the degree of truth in her silly claim.

But I guess you don't get paid the big bucks for designing better slaughterhouses if you merely design better slaughterhouses. You've gotta sell them with a ridiculous marketing package that makes every thinking person quite rightfully dismiss the rest of your work as (most likely) equally hyped nonsense.

And yes, I know there have been some "peer reviewed" studies of her hug box, but I also know what "peer reviewed" actually means in practice...

thinking like a cow (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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:thinking like a cow (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786208)

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 broken mainframe.

He looks it over and does a couple of tests. Then he calls over the head guy. He marks an "X" on the case and tells the head guy, "drill a hole in the case here; that'll fix it." Sure enough, they drill the hole and the mainframe works. But now the consultant sends his bill in to the company: $3,000. The head guy is upset; he says to the consultant, "$3,000? That's ridiculous! Show me the itemized bill." The consultant makes an itemized bill:

One (1) hour labor — $30.00.
One (1) piece of chalk — $0.25.
Knowing where to put the 'X' — $2,969.75.

Re:Nothing New Here (2, Informative)

spidey3 (570347) | more than 4 years ago | (#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...

Re:Nothing New Here (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31783388)

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 MAKE one (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778816)

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.

Re:Just MAKE one (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779114)

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.

Re:Just MAKE one (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779938)

but it makes such a great pipe organ

Re:Just MAKE one (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779156)

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 ;)

Re:Just MAKE one (3, Funny)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779454)

but if your partner is out of town

The easiest person in the world to tell a lie is yourself.

BEAR HUG (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778826)

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

Other purpsoes (1)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778862)

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

Those Wacky Japanese (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778896)

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.

Re:Those Wacky Japanese (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780606)

I'm sure there must be some Japanese scientists doing pure research or working on practical stuff, but it is so rarely reported on and drowned out by the bizarre.

Re:Those Wacky Japanese (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31782714)

you mean like

http://www.sciencebuzz.org/blog/robo_care_japanese_robots_will_help_the_elderly [sciencebuzz.org]

or the old exoskeleton:
http://www.c00lstuff.com/798/Japanese_Robotic_Exoskeleton/ [c00lstuff.com]

which as I understand it, the creator refuses to sell to the military (of any country...)

Re:Those Wacky Japanese (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31783598)

I'm sure you'll be more than happy with your new [somethingawful.com] robotic overlords [newgrounds.com] , too.

Oh my God (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31778970)

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.

Re:Oh my God (5, Funny)

xmousex (661995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779530)

enjoy your skin cancer and communicable diseases

Re:Oh my God (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780638)

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

No kidding. Get off the computer and get a hug [hugegram.com] the old-fashioned way.

You insensitive clod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31781726)

Some people had very bad experiences with human interactions when they were children. They got badly bullied at school or whatever, and that impacted their psychological development to the point where "interacting with actual people in the sunlight" is psychologically distressing to them.

Furthermore, some people are fat and/or repulsive to the point where other people don't want to interact with them. So all attempts to do so just result in rejection and depression.

Its not like the sort of person who plays WoW in the basement all day would go frolic in the sun if WoW wasn't around. The reason they do not go out much is not because WoW is there...but because they don't like to go out.

Devices like this are a boon to such people.

Pass your judgements elsewhere, we aren't interested.

Re:Oh my God (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31783602)

Some people are way too toxic to interact with others. They _should_ stay in the basement with appropriate technology.

Sheeze (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779068)

That's actually pretty sad

Re:Sheeze (1)

Bambi Dee (611786) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780498)

*hugs*

Re:Sheeze (1)

electrons_are_brave (1344423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31784672)

Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug. Then say: "Oh, I really feel the warmth of your hug".

Old idea (2, Interesting)

jspenguin1 (883588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779094)

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

firsT post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31779120)

Clothes or be a Anyone tha7 thinks start a holy war example, Uif you

Lower part? (1)

Mekkah (1651935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779160)

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.

Next up? (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779290)

The Japanese will build a Virtual Tentacle Raping Schoolgirl Mini-Skirt?

Re:Next up? (1)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779576)

Why would a mini-skirt rape a tentacle, virtual or otherwise?

nerdness (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779574)

<lonelynerd>Someone hug me!</lonelynerd>

Re:nerdness (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780916)

@JWSmythe kicks lonelynerd +b

Branding opportunity? (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779656)

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.

Coming from Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31779662)

Does this thing have a tentacle attachment?

I would like one very much.

Bad Summary (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 4 years ago | (#31779696)

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.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780148)

I know when I'm away from the wife, it's the hugs I miss the most.

I want one~ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31780108)

When will they hit the shelves in Europe? Will it run Linux?

Was Asimov right? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31780582)

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 with each other.

Re:Was Asimov right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31784690)

sounds great to me.. people are smelly and sticky and greasy and emo and inherently unstable. The stability brought by a machine with well written software driving it sounds nice.

Big Bang Theory (1)

who's got my nicknam (841366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31781048)

Leonard Hoffsteader built one when he was a kid, because his mother wouldn't hug him. Apparently his father used to borrow it.

Good News! (1)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 4 years ago | (#31781522)

It looks like I'm finally going to be getting a life!

Old, but good (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31781574)

It's only a matter of time before they start integrating gravitational hyper-crystals [pbfcomics.com] into the design.

Puppy similarity (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 4 years ago | (#31781602)

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.

Sad (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31782336)

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!

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31784798)

You extraverts just don't GET IT.. LEAVE THE INTROVERTS ALONE!! We prefer it that way!

Re:Sad (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31786508)

I am and introvert, you insensitive clod!
Seriously, I used to be, but I'm better now. People isolating themselves isn't healthy!

Not better than the standard solution (2, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not better than the standard solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31783946)

I enjoy a hot shower or soak in a hot tub as much as anyone (seven minutes is a short shower for me), but trust me, bathwater is nothing like human contact. You'd have to pry my weekend morning snuggling sessions in bed with my wife from my cold, dead, arms.

Re:Not better than the standard solution (1)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31784012)

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.

Re:Not better than the standard solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31784134)

"looking at the lonely episodes, sometimes decades, of others I notice the habit of notably more frequent hot bathing during those times."

At first I thought that was a typo for not bathing.

Re:Not better than the standard solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31784180)

Massage may also help fulfill some of that need for physical intimacy.

Re:Not better than the standard solution (1)

hurt me plenty (1482451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31787810)

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.

just leave it to the japaneese (3, Funny)

gamecrusader (1684024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31784238)

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

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