A device to heighten the virtual experience

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?

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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