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This Robot Needs a Hug

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-is-why-we-install-limiters dept.

Japan 38

itwbennett writes "It has been an interesting week at the Computer Human Interaction (CHI) show in Vancouver, what with all the humans and computers interacting. And none have interacted quite so interestingly as a robot developed by scientists at Japan's Osaka University that can convey physical emotions through a phone call or e-mail system. Its intended use: Hugging the elderly so you don't have to." Warning: the linked video may induce cringing.

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Middle East (-1, Offtopic)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125426)

The Taliban could do with one of these. They are seriously deprived of love (and as a result of every other step that leads to prosperity). IMO

---
We bring you peace.

Whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36125466)

From the article:

"The robot will provide the courtesy of a reach around"

I think somebody didn't know what that means.

Re:Whoa! (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125650)

No calls.

Uncanny valley? (2)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125432)

No, this is the Grand Uncanny Quad-Amputee Friggin' Canyon!

Why do they keep trying this? (2)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125438)

Is there really that big a demand to relay hugs, kisses and so forth over the internet? Who out there really has a need for this product? Isn't email and phone and video chat enough? I just don't get it. Is is a Japanese culture thing? Does it make more sense in their society or do they just like doing weird stuff?

Re:Why do they keep trying this? (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125508)

Does it make more sense in their society

Yes. I believe when a Japanese gets a hug from a robot it's not creepy because the Japanese use their imagination and they are also very open.

Re:Why do they keep trying this? (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136166)

The problem with Japanese society is that they respect and care for their elderly and this takes away time they could be spending working for the corporation. Now they can do it from their work cubicle and still be productive. That's why a lot of japanese robotic research is geared towards carer type robots.

Re:Why do they keep trying this? (1)

Alimony Pakhdan (1855364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36136432)

You have never been to Japan have you?

Re:Why do they keep trying this? (1)

justinmbarnes (1224182) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201490)

It's not a matter of using imagination, it's how that imagination is used. They can obviously imagine the robot as the person on the other end of the phone call. I'd imagine it as a parasitic alien that is trying to hug the life force out of me.

Re:Why do they keep trying this? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125526)

This just in, HatfulOfHollow [bash.org] has added limbs and finally become rich and famous!

Japan has a thing for humanity in robots... (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125926)

Back in 2001 or so I visited a robotics lab at a tokyo university, and was shown some demos. There were several things that seem to be along the same line of thought as the hugginator.
  • A "video-conference" system for very low bandwidth applications, meant to be used for customer service in transport systems and the like. It did not transmit images: instead, it recognized your expression (smile, frown, etc) and produced a manga-style depiction of the expression at the other end.
  • An experiment on human-computer interaction based on rat-robot real-rat interaction. Basically a rat is sitting in a box together with two vaguely rat-like robots. The evil rat robot electroshocks the rat whenever it comes near. The good rat robot leads the rat to food. We were shown a video of the two robots spinning around in the box, with the rat always keeping the good robot between himself and the bad one.
  • A flute playing robot that actually blew into a flute with some kind of mouth.
  • A nano-manipulation robot for handling small object, base on the principle of chopsticks.
  • Oh and the ticket machines in the tokyo underground show an animation of a lady bowing to you to say thank you... so it's obviously deeply ingrained.

Re:Japan has a thing for humanity in robots... (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125932)

hmpf.. slashdot seems to have a very odd interpretation of html lists...

Re:Why do they keep trying this? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128612)

This is just to get funding for their teledildonics project, of course.

The rest of us would like a way to punch people over the internet but I doubt this robot will enable that.

Re:Why do they keep trying this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36131202)

it needs a vacuum, movable mouth and tongue for long distance relationships. :~)

More like... (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125440)

It's intended use: to marry Krieger.

This won't do at all (1)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125454)

When I feel someone up, the only enhancement I want is for it to be less creepy. Less creepy. Can we try for that, Japanese robotics researchers?

One possible benefit, I suppose, is that it might make it less objectionable when I cop a feel in person simply by comparison.

"At least he's not doing it with that... stub thing this time."

Next obvious market idea (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125462)

Invent a service that automatically sends hugs to your relatives you don't give a fuck about so they think you think about them without you having to.

Re:Next obvious market idea (3, Funny)

Hultis (1969080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125584)

so they think you think about them without you having to

I thought that was the whole point of Facebook?

Re:Next obvious market idea (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125700)

Damn right. How about a FB-App that autosends friend invites and lovely notes to people you friended? That way you could spend your time out and making Friends.

God help us... (2)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125542)

We're getting closer and closer to the advent of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

Re:God help us... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36129930)

Share and enjoy!

Venture Bros. (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125588)

Anyone remember the 2 episodes w/ the clones? That.

Just don't let it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36125596)

... install a nucleo-graviational hyper-crystal into his hug capacitor. We don't need a group hug.

Re:Just don't let it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36126884)

this needs some source [pbfcomics.com] love.

On topic... (1)

Lorens (597774) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125606)

Some will hug robots? I'll believe that, since some people apparently snuggle up to *cars*

http://cars.failblog.org/2011/05/13/funny-car-photos-taking-it-up-the-tailpipe/ [failblog.org]

Re:On topic... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#36126470)

Best sentence (apart from the "boy car" image caption...):

If I've just been driving her, I have to wait for the exhaut pipe to cool down...

Ouch!

More to come (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36125730)

So now I can hug my wife remotely, what i'm missing is a robot that can smack my kids when i'm away.

Prior art! (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125766)

By an internet pal of mine. [youtube.com]

Sensing the presence of others (1)

olau (314197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125806)

This is obviously a prototype, but if you've ever tried keeping a videochat open for a while with speakers on without actually chatting with the other person, the sounds and to some extent the image can in fact create an illusion that your room has grown to encompass the room in the other end. At least, it did that for me once. I've never felt the same kind of illusion with plain phone calls.

I think this is research in somewhat the same idea - try to transfer the presence of others without actually transfering them. As such I think it is interesting.

Imagine chatting with a little robot that can turn to face you all the time while you cook or do the laundry or whatever, and is connected with voice to your traveling girlfriend in the other end? Wouldn't that be different and maybe fulfill a different need than sitting in front of the computer with a videochat?

BTW the "Hugging the elderly so you don't have to." in the summary is just stupid hyberbole.

Hugginator (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36125860)

SARAH (weakly, plead-ing)
Just let me go.

        REESE (slow, but intense)
Listen. Understand. That Hugginator is out there. It can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained with...it never stops feel pity, remorse, fear... and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are hugged.

              SARAH (quietly)
Can you stop it?

            REESE
Maybe. With these weapons...
I don't know.

Brain The Size of a planet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36126204)

and you have me doing email...why do I even bother...

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36126588)

http://www.pbfcomics.com/archive_b/PBF115-Hug_Bot.jpg

ET phone home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36126616)

How long before this thing becomes a video chat sex toy for extraterrestialphiles.

The Anonymous Coward in the back raises his hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36127512)

Haven't I been seeing this thing for years, or do all creepy Japanese robots look alike?

Computer Human Interaction? (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 3 years ago | (#36127926)

Back in my day, we called it Human Computer Interaction. What's so special about the computer that it gets to go first now? Hmph!

I don't know about helping the elderly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128072)

... but this could be a sign for a "child's play" reboot!

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