By Laura Shin
Posting in Science
When you hug Sense-Roid, it hugs you back with the same strokes and pressure -- which sounds appealing in theory but is rather disturbing to watch.
Sometimes it happens. Sometimes you're having one of those days where you just need a hug, but none of your loved ones is around to give you one.
Well, now there's something you can do about that.
The new Japanese Sense-Roid jacket allows you hug yourself. Yes, you read that right. You can hug yourself. (Let's leave aside the question of whether this would make you feel better ... or worse.)
In order to use Sense-Roid, you put on a jacket that contains 36 pager motors that can vibrate and several air compressors. The jacket is connected by wire to a headless torso that sits on a stick.
To get your self-hug, you walk up to the headless torso and begin hugging and stroking it. The torso, which is outfitted with pressure sensors, observes the pressure and placement of your hug and strokes and sends a signal to your jacket to re-create the same sensations back to you through the jacket.
The pager motors vibrate to replicate your strokes, and the air compressors inflate the jacket to squeeze your torso, reproducing the feeling of pressure.
The researchers say Sense-Roid could be used in medical therapy, but currently, there are no plans to produce it commercially.
You can see how Sense-Roid, produced by the Kajimoto Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications, works in the video below. Just to warn you, this video is odd, disturbing, sad ... and yet, mesmerizing.
via Popular Science
Jun 23, 2011
I thought of Temple Grandin the moment I saw the headline. Another commenter did as well, I see. This bodes VERY WELL for autistics with a hard time associating physically with people. I don't know about any social avatar or pornographic uses. I do know that something like this has the potential to be a really nice tool to help autistic people lead independent lives.
Hugs feel good BECAUSE they are done BY SOMEONE ELSE. If we take out that factor, we will in time come to feel the difference, even if we don't feel it now. This device may "fool" the emotional responses of us boomers who never could quite manage a self-hug, but our children, who grow up with interactive devices "like this" won't be fooled for a second (not without some chemical assistance, anyway). We are on a descending spiral, in the realm of actually supporting each other emotionally, and an ASCENDING spiral in our inevitable, learned ability to screen out the ways we presently fool our own senses. The ONLY way out of this progressive bind we are putting ourselves into, is to throttle down the tech that directly affects our lives in this self-referential-deception way. Unless we really want to do things that will affect our memories so that we can't remember the adaptation. But once we do that, we lose the connection with our memory and reality that keeps us human. Such toys as this are fads, that will work on us until we adapt our systems to automatically detect them in action. And at the moment we detect such a system acting on us, its effects will be cancelled in our perceptual systems. The real, present danger, is that we will come to react cynically to ALL perceptions of emotional comfort and will thus emotionally distrust ALL emotional reaction. Good luck with that.
Given the multitude of uses this can have I find it ironic that the demonstration shows someone hugging themselves. The first use that came to my mind was using a setup like this to hug family members remotely. Wouldn't it be great if a father serving in Afghanistan could give their child or wife in Kansas a hug before bedtime?
Good grief this would make the lives of so many people better, and I'm not ashamed to say myself included. I'm glad someone mentioned Temple Grandin, there was a lady who got it. Deep pressure, such as what one experiences in a hug, triggers a calming effect, acting as a sort of reset switch, and sometimes, that's exactly what some of us need. But needs aside, unless you've got an honest aversion to physical affection (which admittedly some do), there's just something pleasant about being in a hug. If everything is good between you and the person you're hugging, usually you feel safe, cared for, accepted... it's just nice. And there's nothing wrong with acknowledging that. Now, what I'm curious about is whether or not this thing can actually reproduce the feeling of being hugged by another living human being, or if it will feel inherently mechanical. It's hard to tell by the video, that's the kind of thing you'd only know by actually interacting with it. To the manufacturer: The addition of an adjustable head would be good. For many, one of the familiar and comforting sensations of a hug is the weight of the other person's head resting on your shoulder, or on your own head if the other person is taller than you. To that end, a height adjustable stand would be good too.
jt, your on the right track as this is not being targeted at a commercial market, its a medial therapy device that has very practical benefits for certain disorders. I applaud the creators of this they were thinking outside the box. fg
It isn't so much the Sens-Roid that's creepy in the vid, as it is the guy demonstrating it. The Japanese can be a bit overenthusiatic about stuff, but that guy seemed to be enjoying it a bit TOO much.