Adam's disturbing adventure with the Fleshlight (NSFW) this week got me thinking about the flipside of sex with machines. What about our emotional needs?
German designer Stefan Ulrich's Funktionide is like a body pillow best friend (or lover as this video suggests).
Based on EAP-technology "Funktionide" is a concept for an emotional robot that substitutes human contact. In a future where technology will play a huge part in our lives it is very likely that some day it will shift from satisfying our basic functional needs to include our emotional needs as well.
Can a man love a blob made from plastics? Rosanne Barr was married more than once, so I suppose anything can happen. [Project Page]
Let's say you actually have a flesh and blood "girlfriend", but you met on the internet, she has never seen a real picture of you and she barely speaks English. Mutsugoto can break down all of those physical and geographic barriers to create a genuine intimate experience with light.
the device was designed to communicate intimacy and to offer an alternative to text and e-mail messaging. While lying on their beds miles away from each other, the couples wear touch-activated rings visible to a camera mounted above them. A computer vision system tracks the movement of the ring as one of the device's users passes it across their own body, or bed. At the same time these strokes are transmitted to and projected in beams of light on the body of their partner. The lines change colour if they cross.
Plus, this way she won't feel how fat you are.
Experience Twitter on a more personal, emotional level with this DIY Guardian robot.
Meet the Guardian Robot: This friendly little fellow stands on your desk and monitors your Twitter feed for "happy" and "sad" posts by your friends on your Twitter feed. But unlike conventional alert systems, this robot encourages you to interact with the posts it finds.
For example, when it finds a "happy" post, the Guardian Robot raises its head and arm in triumph. It holds the pose until you give it a "high five" by pushing the switch in its raised hand. Once you do that, the robot pass the high five on to your buddy via a reply Tweet.
Likewise, when the Guardian Robot comes across a sad Tweet, it lowers its head in despair. You cheer it up by giving it a hug, which it will forward on with another reply Tweet.
Lonely people often turn to pets to fill the void, but not everyone is cut out for the responsibility. Perfect Petzzz offer a solution with a robot that looks and breathes like a real dog or cat during a slumber that is interrupted only by an on/off switch or the death of a D battery. It's all of the fun of owning a dog that's in a coma without all of the hassle. [Perfect Petzzz]
Tired of coming home to an empty house every night? The Expected Curtain makes it appear from the outside as though you have several friends just hanging out in your home, enjoying a motionless staring contest for hours and hours on end. [Link]
One of the saddest products on this list has to be the girlfriend pillow. But look at the guy in the photo — he seems content with a soft, uni-breasted torso. Plus he has the option of picking up a lap pillow for more intimate moments. Also available in a boyfriend version.
Thanks to 64 strategically located actuators, this jacket from Philips reacts with scenes from movies — heightening your emotional reaction. For example, it might hug you repeatedly during a Lifetime movie or pulse like a heartbeat during a tense scene in a horror flick. [Link]