Long Distance Relationship Aids: Mutsugoto
There have been a long string of devices attempting to keep a long-distance relationship alive. Full on VR helps to the limits of modern technology; erotic, teledildonic aids exist for long distance sex lives, they are not as good as physical copulation, but at least they are something.
Romantic keep-a-lives are in their own category, and have come in the shape of lamps that glow when one partner thinks of the other, flashing icons on one another's desktop that glow brighter when the other clicks theirs, and so on. A new attempt to enter that space, is Mutsugoto, an augmented reality drawing program.
Moray, UK based Distance Lab believes Mutsugoto to be more intimate than e-mail messaging, phone, or text. Whilst it is certainly intimate, only time will tell if it is of any lasting value.
The system utilises the webcams of both partners, and augmented-reality style, allows each partner to draw on the image returned by their partner's cam and send the stream back to them, in real-time.
The drawings are made by touch-activated rings which emit an infra-red light the camera can track. In this fashion, the drawings take up 3D space, with one partner, and are shown overlaid on the other. The hope is they can be used to show one partner dancing with the other, with the ring showing where the other person is, streamed over the internet to them.
As an additional measure, special lights, also part of the package, can be remote-activated by the tings, shining light onto pre-decided locations of the house of each partner, by the gestures made by the other.
Mutsugoto has been in development for about two years by the Forres-based company, and involves artist Tomoko Hayashi.
Dr Stefan Agamanolis, chief executive and research director at Distance Lab, stated, when asked about the system: "Statistics show that long distance relationships are more and more common.
"This project is a reaction to mobile phones, e-mail, chat programs and other common modes of communication that couples will often have trouble with because they are very impersonal, generic, and steal away any sense of intimacy or closeness they might feel.