Prior Art

I found some prior work related to over distance emotional impact or haptic outputs.
My keywords are: Haptic feedback, telepresence toys, virtual/physical existence.
Most of them have more science oriented approach, you can tell it even from their interfaces. Here are some examples:

Augmented reality puts the squeeze into virtual hugs:

Virtual hugs

It uses Second Life to communicate. It matches your words in Second Life with emotions and convey that emotion to your partner. In the video, there are 2 characters in Second Life, hugging each other, talking, getting excited atc. The look and feel is horrible! So technical, so engineer style. Would you wanna walk around wearing this? And the guy, he’s like Clark Kent – The Engineer!

Philips Emotions Jacket

Philips Emotions Jacket
It gives you sensor feedback to help you live the emotions created in the movie. This is really cool in fact. I would like to test this, I wonder the experience.

VGo

VGo
Way out of my league…It walks around with a screen on top, full of your face. I don’t like the idea of having robots that walk around…

Creepy Shoulder-Mounted Telepresence Robot

Japanese Craziness!!! You gotta watch the video.

These are more related to design and what I am trying to do:
Nabaztag
Nabaztag

Nabaztag is one of the most developed internet connected toy. It has many functions/functionalities which are all programmable. Its story is a long one. Technical features: The device embeds a PIC18F6525 microcontroller, a BenQ PC card 802.11b Wi-Fi adaptor, an ml2870a Audio-PCM sound generator, an ADPCM converter, two motors to activate the ears, a TLC5922 LED controller, and a small amount of memory.

Little Robots


These are 2 robots that sits on the desks of a couple. When you poke the robot on the button, the other robot waves hand. It’s using V-USB software for Atmel’s AVR® microcontrollers, I have no idea what this is. This is a nice example of telepresence without a screen, but I think it still lacks emotional impact. It’s just cute.

Hug Shirt

Hug Shirt

They are activating the system by using bluetooth on your phone. Even if one you do not have the shirt, you can still send a hug by using your phone. I wish they provided more information about the built in mechanism. How can I be sure whether this is really built or in ideation stage?

Look&Feel prior art
Sensor Squid

Sensor Squid

This is way too big and not an octopus for sure but it has sensors and tokens in the arms, which is what I planned for my advanced version of the interface. For now, I’m not adding sensor to arms, but I want it to be octopus anyways.

Patented work examples (Not really related to my project in fact) I gotta extend my search to find something more related to my project.
Valentine Pillow
Interactive toy and methods for exploring emotional experience (Not directly related but…)
Systems and Methods for Enhanced Haptic Effects
TOY AND METHOD DESIGNED TO ENHANCE EMOTIONAL LEARNING

So, should I reinvent the wheel? Is my project proposal different from the existing projects? Does it worth the effort to pursue this project? These are the questions to be answered to convince both myself and the design world. Yes, none of these are for children and none of these suggest personal physical actions to actuate the system. But the idea is somehow out there. Thus, I’m having issues about being novel, doing the non-obvious etc. Please give me feedback!

PS. I’m working on the implementation prototype. I’m building the circuit in the book: Making Things Talk, that sends an email about sensor activity using PHP. I’m hoping to understand communication over the internet better by this exercise. After completing this, I’ll try to write a code that will read the sent information and actuate the sensor with that information.

Upcoming: The look and feel prototype with the actual plush toy, using a simple wired circuit, just to test how it looks and how successful it is to create the emotion I am after.