30 November, 2005

get back in the box

AsiaPundit supports the commercialization of university research. If an institute of higher learning can find a way to patent and monetize the results of a research project, the institute should be able to generate more funds for pure research. That would remove the need for government funding for studies on such things as why toast always lands butttered-side down.

A Singapore institute seems to have developed a device that could be quickly turned commercial. Unfortunately, as Imagethief notes, the researchers seem to be missing the most obvious application of delivering touch on the internet.:

NetsexReuters: SINGAPORE–Singapore scientists looking for ways to transmit the sense of touch over the Internet have devised a vibration jacket for chickens and are thinking about electronic children’s pajamas for cyberspace hugs.

A wireless jacket for chickens or other pets can be controlled with a computer and gives the animal the feeling of being touched by its owner, researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) told The Straits Times.

The next step would be to use the same concept to transmit hugs over the Internet, it said.

“These days, parents go on a lot of business trips, but with children, hugging and touching are very important,” the paper quoted NTU Associate Professor Adrian David Cheok as saying.

NTU is thinking of a pajama suit for children, which would use the Internet to adjust changes in pressure and temperature to simulate the feeling of being hugged. Parents wearing a similar suit could be “hugged” back by their children, the paper said.


Now, when you think of Internet + tactile technology, what comes to mind? Is it hugs for the little children? Or petting the cat while you are away? Or is www.handjob.com? Or, perhaps less conventionally, www.slapmesilly.com? Sounds like another great moment for e-commerce to me. And what’s with the chickens?

A common criticism of Asian educational systems it that it leaves people without the skills to “think outside the box.” That isn’t the case here. No, the concepts of ‘chicken petting’ and ‘hug pajamas’ are already so far removed from the obvious commercial applications that AsiaPundit suggests that Nanyang’s researchers quickly find a way to get back inside the box.

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by @ 1:15 am. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

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