The Hug

The Hug

Sunday, May 22, 2005
| 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

A robotic pillow can now hug Grandma when you can’t.

There’s a new invention out there, and it’s hard to say if it’s (A) a useful tool for people separated by geographic distance, (B) an incredibly sad commentary on our society, or (C) evidence of human sinfulness.

The gadget is the creation of robotics researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. Called the Hug, the device is a soft, squeezable pillow with two armlike extensions. It employs sensing and wireless phone technology to send a physical touch via long distance.

To use it, both the sender and the recipient need one.

Let’s say the sender is a child who wants to send a hug to her grandmother several states away. The girl squeezes the left paw of her pillow and speaks her grandmother’s name into a microphone implanted in the contraption. Voice-recognition software matches the name to a preset phone number and dials the corresponding Hug pillow at grandma’s house.

Grandma’s pillow then lights up and sounds off. To answer, grandma squeezes the left hand of her pillow and says hello....

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