Technology! It does good things like make our lives better. You know, like making things such as computers, smartphones and talking hug pillows possible.
As noted on Japanese site Weekly ASCII, a researcher named Kouchi Uchimura pitched his idea for a talking hug pillow platform called Itasupo on crowd-funding site Makuake (think Kickstarter), with the idea being that the pillow talks when touched.
Uchimura, who previously worked at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, said he wished the hug pillow he slept with could talk. "I want to make it [a talking hug pillow] real," Uchimura added. "With that in mind, I made this." A talking hug pillow. Imagine if the same kind of effort went into curing horrible diseases!
His creation doesn't only talk when touched, but also when caressed. The tech that makes that possible is a tactile sensor developed at the institute that Uchimura has dubbed the "Nadenade Sensor" (with "nade" referring to "caress").
So, if you gently stroke the pillow, it responds in a nice voice. The pillow will also tell you not to touch certain areas, and if you don't comply and get fresh, the character responds in an angry voice. And if the pillow's owner continues to be rude and rough with the pillow, it will stop talking, going into permanent silent mode.
So, uh, don't act like a creepy pig and be respectful to your talking anime girl pillow.
There are three different talking pillow characters -- Rina Makuraba, Shion Kamitsuki and Shiho Natsuki, each having different personalities and speaking around 500 phrases. And there's also an app planned.
The original online crowd-funding project asked for 500,000 yen ($5442), but with 81 people supporting the project, it's already reached 1.6 million yen ($US17,415) -- and still has 55 days to go. Not surprising, as Uchimura said, "For otaku, this is the hug pillow of their dreams."
The world will have to wait and see if this crowdfunded project lives up to its promise of a talking hug pillow.