Virtual Hugs – Interested?
Researchers at the Helsinki Institute of Information Technology and Nokia Research have developed a new gadget “the ForcePhone” allowing people to send their partners “virtual hugs” by simply squeezing the device.
Researchers say that due to the fact that many people now have long distance relationships, traditional methods of showing affection and physical intimacy have become less easy to achieve so devices like these will allow users to convey different intensities of their feelings, mood or emotion to the other person.
The technology allows mobile phone users to squeeze the force-sensitive resistor on the device which then sends one of four different levels of vibration to the other person depending on how much pressure is applied by the sender. The makers say that the level of vibration can be used to express powerful levels of emotion such as love, hate or simply the intensity of feeling during a telephone conversation.
This system has been tested on three couples in long distance relationships, some used the “pressages” system as a “virtual cuddle” however the levels of vibration received did become rather annoying to one of the couples in the test. The researchers did say that “other uses” were found for the vibrations on the device but these uses were not explained in their presentation.
Whether you like the idea or not we are unlikely to see this on shelves anytime soon as the tests that have been carried out on the technology have shown that most if not all current devices would need a major redesign of the hardware to cope with the levels of vibration they would be subjected to.
The ForcePhone – Good idea or just one more gimmick that people will get bored with over time? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below…