I love hugs. Like, really love them. I’d choose a warm embrace over a cream cheese-smeared bagel, an Unbreakable binge. So you can bet I’m excited about the prospect of a humanoid robot programmed to hug people.
Researchers have created a kid robot that wraps its arms around you on your request, when you call it ‘hug me’. This scene you can find virtually in Hyderabad’s Kids Fair being held in Hitex exhibitions from 28th December till 30th December.
This ‘HugBot’ has a somewhat goofy grin and while it offers you a hug its internal microphones pick up your pulse and give an early warning if it spots something unusual. This is a completely made with voice base robotics tecxhnology, said Prasoona, the director of TIX.
Hyderabad-based Miyapur located TIX company has prepared this huggiebot for educational purpose, this robot is programmed to hug the kids and it can be used in teaching kids about the STEM subjects and codinfg the mechanics.
HuggieBot—a modified Willow Garage PR2 robot—is the first step toward as tall as an average kid, it is made with layers of foam, polyester, and other materials for extra-soft comfort feel.
“We’re interested in enabling robots to hug because of how common hugs are in daily life and because of their numerous health benefits,” according to TIX spokeswoman Prasoona.
The robot grabs people as Huggiebot for around five or six seconds, and it can sense when someone is close by and expecting a warm, cuddly check-up.
The TIX spokeswoman told that they want to see HuggieBot installed in schools, playgrounds and children’s hospitals, in a bid to share some love and some medical data.
Earlier this year, a 37 pounds Hugvie was demonstrated to robot fans – a ‘huggable robotic pillow-phone’ which has its own heartbeat and internal vibrators – and then matches these to the caller’s voice.
The vibrations become faster and stronger depending on the pitch and volume of your conversation. This was experimented during the tour of Ivanka Trump visit to Hyderabad.
Studies suggest that hugs—whether between family, friends, or significant others—can ease stress, lower blood pressure, and make us feel supported, all of which helps stave off infection.
Earlier this year, Prasoona presented her own findings, based on a study in which HuggieBot gave 30 participants 12 different mechanical hugs.
The experiment, virtually conducted at the #HydKidsFair2018 in Hitex, Hyderabad, featured the cyborg raising its arms expectantly and asking, “Can I have a hug, please?”
Some folks were wary of embracing the 150-pound computer, while others seemed excited for the novel opportunity.
“When HuggieBot asks a person for a hug, some people answer out loud. Others just hold on to the robot for a really long time,” Prasoona explained. “We also found that taking part in our formal user study (in which people hugged the robot 12 times) significantly improved the participants’ general impressions about robots.”
“The study participants gave us lots of helpful feedback that will enable us to create a robot that gives even better hugs,” according to Prasoona. “We are now in the process of developing HuggieBot 2.0, which will be more ergonomic and responsive to its hugging partner. We plan to compare the psychological and physiological effects of hugging this new robot with the effects of hugging other people.
And finally we hope to be able to allow people to send each other customized hugs through HuggieBot 2.0 and see how these remote robot-mediated interactions affect personal relationships.
Researchers are working on a second-generation machine—one that measures how much emotional support its hugs provide. HuggieBot 2.0 will be more ergonomic and responsive to its hugging partner.
“We plan to compare the psychological and physiological effects of hugging this new robot with the effects of hugging other people,” Prasoona said. “And finally, we hope to be able to allow people to send each other customized hugs through HuggieBot 2.0 and see how these remote robot-mediated interactions affect personal relationships.”
She has no intention, though, of replacing human embraces (because who would want to?). She simply wants to supplement them.
“We’re advocating for this technology to be used as a complement to other people,” Prasoona explained to #KhabarLive, “in situations where it is difficult or uncomfortable to get the support a person needs or wants from another human”—like a college campus or senior living facility. #KhabarLive