Japanese researchers have developed a new robotic device that allows users to "feel," by producing heartbeat patterns to evoke different emotions, such as sadness or anger. The device is worn like a harness and aims to provide a more palpable, emotional experience to chatting over the Internet.

Dubbed iFeel_IM! ("I feel therefore I am"), the haptic device took five years to build.

From the AFP:

"[The] robot is a collection of sensors, small motors, vibrators and speakers woven into a series of straps similar to a parachute harness, minus the parachute.

Connected to a computer, the device can simulate several types of heart beat, a realistic hug, the tickling sensation of a butterfly stomach, and a tingling feeling along the spine. It can also generate warmth.

Here's a YouTube video that explains how it works.

Do you think something like this could work or would it just be a nuisance?

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Daryl Paranada at @darylparanada