Japanese manufacturer NSK has been working on robot dogs for a while now. Why? Why not. The most recent addition to there newest model of the robo-pet is, you guessed it, a Kinect. By having the Kinect mounted on its head, the robo-dog improves on previous versions built in conjunction with the University of Electro-Communications and can recognize (and climb) things like stairs, no small feat for a robot.
University of Electro-Communications
The Kajimoto research group at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo has developed a device that simulates an object passing through your skin, otherwise known as something a normal person really, really doesn't want to have happen to their skin. The device uses a Wiimote to the movement of the subjet in 3D space, while a vibration device is placed on both the front and back of the chosen area of skin. A simulation on an accompanying computer screen depicts a ball passing through the participant's hand, and when the on-screen ball hits the right part of the on-screen skin, the vibration device triggers and stimulates both sides of the skin, which supposedly achieves a sensation similar to something passing through one's skin.
The device, which is being called a "phantom sensation device," is being developed primarily to further the level of immersion in video games, but one would also assume the sex toy market is the other likely candidiate for this type of device. Head on past the break to see a video demonstration that you won't be able to feel because you don't have a phantom sensation device strapped to parts of your body.
Created by a student at the University of Electro-Communications in -- where else -- Japan, the Sense-Roid is basically a mannequin wearing a special vest that, when coupled with a person who wears another special vest and hugs said mannequin, will stimulate the hugger's vest and makes the hugger feel like it got hugged back: When the two vests connect, they begin to inflate with air and vibrate in such a way that supposedly feels like a hug. The Sense-Roid measures the pressure from the initial hug, then mimics said pressure when "returning" the hug, so not only is the Sense-Roid a machine designed to hug people that can't obtain a hug from another real person, but it hugs people in such a way that simulates people hugging themselves. The Sense-Roid is a prototype, and there are currently no plans to take the machine out of that stage, so fortunately (unfortunately?), people will have to go out and obtain real hugs to curb their loneliness. Head on past the break to check out a weird video of the Sense-Roid.
Researchers at the Kajimoto Laboratory at the University of Electro-Communications are exploring the possibility of tactile communication. That is, communication by touch and without words. Everyone has experienced wordless communication of this type, whether its a reassuring hug or the sympathetic hand on the shoulder. Or, in the case of the work being done now, a box that you makeout with. The device is a handheld plastic box that connects to a computer. On one face is an angled hard plastic straw attached to a motor. The straw is placed in the mouth of the kisser, who spins the straw with his or her (more likely "his," let's be honest) tongue. The spinning motion is observed by the computer, and recreated on the recipient's box. Apparently, having someone stick an electric drill with a bendy-straw on the end into your mouth is what kissing feels like.