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 Strokable robot rabbit talks with touch

This story is from the category Sensors
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Date posted: 03/06/2008

The ?Haptic Creature? is a robotic pet, designed to communicate only haptically. In other words, it only communicates by touch.

The hope of creator Steve Yohanan at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, is to reignite mainstream development of haptics as a viable interface method, and to study the effect touch has on human emotions.

"I'm trying to provide a deeper experience by adding touch," says Yohanan.

"I had a cat for many years, and what I miss most about interacting with her is touch," he says. "For example, the cat would sit in my lap while I worked at the computer ? I would scratch the top of her head and feel her purr."

Using pressure sensors, the Haptic Creature can detect the way it is touched or stroked. It can only respond with breathing movements of its body, inaudible purring vibrations, or by moving its ears.

But even those simple responses to touch can elicit a range of emotions in humans, says Yohanan. "Our preliminary investigation showed participants could identify most of the emotional responses," he says.

See the full Story via external site: technology.newscientist.com



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