Who has not send his/her hugs via SMS, email or phone. Although ernest mend it is just a word. But sending a hug with it’s warmth could soon become more tactile according to Japanese researchers.
Dzmitry Tsetserukou, assistant professor at Toyohashi University of Technology and creator of the system that includes the HaptiHug, HaptiHeart and HaptiButterfly each designed to generate a different kind of tactile, physical feeling based on words sent over email, twitter and other messaging systems.
The HaptiHug consists of a belt around the chest connected to a motor that tightens a bit simulating embracement of a hug. The HaptiHeart evokes sadness, anger and fear by generating pressure on the chest through pre-recorded sound signals. The HaptiButterfly uses small motors to generate the feeling of ‘Butterflies in die stomach’.
Actually Dzmitry Tsetserukou designed the Hapti range for use in virtual reality worlds like Second Life, something only hard core fans of Second Life might appreciate. I think the virtual-to-real world hugging concept will never be able to replace the real hug. But if you are separated from your loved ones on that long business trip – it could serve a little as replacement, as an addition to the ‘hug you’ email or text message.
Nevertheless, the HaptiHug, which belongs to the I_FeelIM (I feel therefore I am) system, does offer insights into the area of remote feeling technologies that make most sense when worn, when part of our clothing.
Used in sensible designs, these technologies and concepts will find their application in garments – be it for gaming, augmented reality or as therapeutic aid.