At Dorkbot SF last night there was a super creative talk on telepresence by Alex Glow. She had a lot of ideas on modalities for social connection at a distance.
Inspired by that I dreamed up a hand-holding telepresence romance bot.
There would be two linked hand sculptures, one from each member of a couple. Each one would be a model based on a casting. The two source hands would remain in the picture, so there’s living hand A, copy of A, living hand B, copy of B.
The hands would be robotic in that the fingers and wrist could move just like a normal hand. The hands could wave, do a peace sign, a vulcan hello, a firm grasp, a soft grasp, etc. Like Thing in the Adddams Family.
The handbot could be held. The expectation is that a living human hand’s would grasp the handbot. The specific living hand doing the holding would belong to one member of the couple. The bot would have sensors to detect pressure and convert that into a model of the actions of the living hand holding the bot hand.
That model would be transmitted to the linked handbot based on the living hand. The linked handbot would execute the model. Performance of the model would complete transmission.
Since this is all about touch the texture matters. Instead of metal or fake skin the robotic hands could be covered with a textured fabric like velvet.
This apparatus would be a remote hand holding device.
Romance is the main reason people would use it, but romance isn’t the only reason people hold hands. We shake hands. We thumb wrestle. I held my father’s hand when he was in bed, very ill. My seven year old holds my hand just because he wants to.
I envision couples separated by distance holding hands during a phone call. For example one member is on a spaceship, one is at home.
It’s telepresence for touch.
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