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RoboDev: MIT's 'Huggable' Telepresence Bear

January 7, 2009 | Chris Payatagool
Lonely? MIT has the companion robot for you. It's Huggable (that's Huggable), who's sort of like some robotic love child between a ConnectR, a Pleo, and a tribble (a robotic tribble). The end result is designed to be a much more tactile and friendly form for robotic companionship and telepresence. Pretty much his entire body is (or will be soon) covered in touch/force/temperature sensors, and he's got cameras behind his eyes and a speaker in his nose and servo motors six ways to Sunday. Although Huggable is packed with way more hardware than your average bear, most of the actual number crunching (audio and visual processing, for example) will probably be done off-bear on a centrally located server which will wirelessly receive data from Huggable's sensors and send back commands.

huggable2_telepresence.jpgIn addition to being an autonomous companion, Huggable is designed to be teleoperated. You can do this through your computer, with a second "slave" Huggable. The slave Huggable reproduces movements made to the original Huggable (wherever it is), and any movements you make on your end will be reproduced by the original. The computer tells you where and how the Huggable is being touched, and transmits live video and audio feeds.


The Huggable team still has some work to do before releasing a product that won't kill you while you sleep, but in a couple years, Huggable may be available to hospitals and schools for some "thousands" of dollars.

[via botjunkie]

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