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Friday, April 27, 2012

Japanese Telepresence Robots

Japanese Robonable reports about a demonstration using a cellphone-type android called Elfoid. The video below shows a man using an Elfoid to communicate with a women sitting in fron of a computer screen.

The Elfoid was developed in 2010 by Japanese roboticist prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro, Osaka university.  The idea was to develop an innovative communication medium that allows individuals in remote locations to converse in such a way that they feel each other's presence. The term Elfoid is a new term coined from a word "elf" and the Latin postfix -oides which indicates similarity, as Humanoid.
Presence Transfer with Hugvie 
Credit: ATR/Ishiguro
Hugging and holding a soft robot during an interaction is an effective way for strongly feeling the existence of a partner. The recently developed "Hugvie" is an epoch-making communication medium that can strongly transfer the presence of an interaction partner despite its simple shape. Hugvie, is a "hug pillow" type of communication media for talking in a hugging state. Its body is mainly a cushion that is formed similar to earlier Telenoid and Elfoid to effectively convey a sense of human existence. While holding it close to body, users speak to people in far locations through their cellphones inserted into a pocket in its head. Moreover, it is equipped with a vibrator inside that generates vibration for reproduction of heartbeats that can effectively convey the human likeness and human emotions. These heartbeat vibrations that vary in synchronization with the partner's tone, strengthen the presence feeling originated by voice.

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