Well, it was only a matter of days before our next “something involving robots” post.
Researchers from the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo are working on what they call the “Sense-roid”.
That is, a torso in a vest that “hugs” you back when you embrace it.
This article mentions that one suggested use for these robots, if they become commercially accessible, could be to comfort the elderly who live alone. One of the researchers is quoted as saying it feels “awkward” to hug a robotic torso like this, but after adjusting to the unique feel it is more enjoyable.
So there may be hope for the elderly (or just lonely) seeking some kind of affection, albeit non-human…