How to protect seniors -- older parents, relatives and loved ones -- who live alone. Tips on what to do in case of an emergency. Safety ideas.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Reach Out and Hug Someone... Virtually

Based on a posting by Roba at the website "And Far Away"

Edited by Don Rose


Here is an invention designed to provide"The Hug" you cannot give because you are too far away.

Robotics researchers have designed a soft, huggable pillow that uses sensing and wireless phone technology to provide a physical touch, and thus better social and emotional support, for distant family members. The device, which is about the size of a throw pillow but as firm as a seat cushion, is shaped like a person about to give a hug, with two arms reaching up and out from a small torso. The outside is covered in velour, "making it soft and plush and something you would want to hold up against your body."

Another example of technology bringing us closer together. To paraphrase an old phone commercial, now you can "Reach out and hug someone."

I believe The Hug device could prove useful for enhancing the feeling of closeness between family members -- in particular, between mature adults living alone and their children. For the kids, it's the next best thing to being there (with grandma or grandpa). I also believe The Hug and products like it are just initial examples of an inevitable wave of products geared toward making older folks feel more companionship and love while living alone at home.

For more on The Hug, read the article here.


The article above and the content it is based on are covered by a Creative Commons License.

Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on many topics, including computers, the Internet, artificial intelligence, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.


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