Caring Cyber Excitement

Work continues on the human/robot interface in many areas. The efforts are normally directed at human to robot communication to get one or the other to carry out a task, or for the robot to sense the presence of the human so that they can help without hurting the person, by pushing or gripping too firmly for example.

Robots are also available as pets, and these have to respond to touch and speech in an appropriate manner. The concept of robots as surrogates for pets seems an easy one to grasp, but a new surrogacy is finding it’s way into our world. The latest is a robot design to be an affection surrogate for your loved ones when you have to communicate with them at a distance.

This idea is being refined by Hooman Samani from the U Singapore and the Hooman/robot version of the human/robot interface is a responsive kissing machine (1). It consists of a set of lips on a plastic ball. There are sensors and activators connected to the lips via a microprocessor circuit which provides rapid feedback with a connection to your loved one’s robot wirelessly via the Internet.

So you make your voice or video call and greet your loved one by kissing your robot. Your loved one kisses their robot and you both feel the sensation in your lips. This is a family robot, so they behave very properly and don’t indulge in any wild flings, although you would get different responses from your child, your partner or your aunt.

I think that I would have to restrict my use to video calls only as with just a voice call, there is the possibility of getting a wrong number and giving a complete stranger of the wrong sex a long lingering kiss.

Hooman is taking his ideas further and is talking about a future when robots will be kissing humans, but not just to pass the kiss on and, I am still trying to digest this one, robots kissing robots. I can picture a robot delivering a “Kissogram” on Valentine’s Day to a young woman or man. But picture, if you will, a robot delivering a “Kissogram” to the domestic robot of the house. Of such things, movies could be made.


Thanks to for drawing this exciting work to our attention.

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