Normally you think science, lasers, and silicon chips when someone says “MIT,” but Huggable is an MIT invention nonetheless: it’s another smart robot companion, a bit like Paro meets Teddy Ruxpin. Its body is covered in sensors and motors, including webcams behind his eyes and a speaker in his nose, and its designed to respond to you and react like an electronic pet. But it’s a little smarter than Paro: it can act as a telepresence device, echoing the movements of a remotely-manipulated Huggable.
And the remote bear can also be moved by you, which opens up the chance for the possibility of remote-controlled cuddles. It may, at this point, help to remember the bear’s intended for uses in places like hospitals, and in early-learning applications.
It’s the latest version of a device that MIT’s Personal Robots Group has been working on for a while, and as you can see it’s a research device so it’s not exactly wonderfully cuddly at the mo. Still, the group’s working on a refined version that’ll be used in real-life human-computer interaction experiments. [MIT via BotJunkie]