Need to buy a present for your mum’s birthday? Worrying about what to get hubby - the man who has everything? Forget the flowers, chocolates, handkerchiefs and socks, those boring old standbys of yesteryear, and worry no more. Treat them to a Hugvie, the ultimate in hi-tech, telephonic cuddly toys.
Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, Director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University in Japan, an expert in android and robot development, is the genius brain behind this product. Based on his earlier creation, the Telenoid, which some people rather unkindly likened to a supersized foetus, the recently unveiled Hugvie is a pillow the size and shape of a chunky truncated toddler with a pocket at the head for your mobile phone. According to Prof Ishiguro, two vibrators inside “produce a throbbing sound like a heartbeat. That pulse can get faster or stronger, depending on the volume and tone of the caller’s voice”. The aim is to create a richer experience when phoning family and loved ones.
Like me, you’re probably wondering why no one’s come up with this idea before.
The Hugvie comes in a range of snuggly colours - royal blue, pillar-box red, flame orange, day-glo pink, citrus yellow and lime green. You can buy it from the Vstone Robot Centre in Akihabara, Japan or on-line at the Robot Shop for the equivalent of roughly US$50.
I have a sneaky feeling this multi-sensory communication cushion will prove to be the ‘must have’ item for 2012. Pillow talk with feeling... what more could you want?
J M Leitch is author of The Zul Enigma, a factual futuristic thriller looking back at a cataclysmic event occurring on 21 December 2012, end of the Mayan calendar. 'Like' her author and book pages on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @JMLeitch.