Friday, May 23, 2008

Haptic Bunny

Robticist Steve Yohanan thinks there's something missing from the design of many robots:
the human touch. By omitting the touch sensation from robotic design,
Steve thinks that scientists and engineers are missing out on an
important machine-human interaction, capable of communicating emotions.
So he's designed and built Haptic Creature, a furry robotic research bunny with touch feedback as it's only way of communicating.

"I had a cat for many years, and what I miss most about interacting
with her is touch," says Steve. So he designed the furry rabbit robot
to be laced with pressure sensors so it can sense where and how it's
being touched or stroked. It then responds by making breathing-like
motions, purring vibrations, or ear wiggles.

And though it sounds like a whacky bit of science, apparently a

research study at the University of British Columbia showed that people
who stroked the bunny had an emotional response even to this limited feedback, and could identify the bunny's "emotions" across a range of negative to positive.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

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