High-Tech Hugs

Two wirelessly linked robotic plush bears as haptic communication devices. The two bears’ arms are equipped with motors and sensors that can tell the current position as well as actuate rotational movement and Bluetooth microcontrollers that allow the bears to communicate wirelessly. Their arms are synced so that when one bear moves its arms, the other bear moves its arms in the same way. It employs a system of bilateral force-feedback to create the illusion that the parent and child are interacting with the same plush bear. Despite the fact that the child and loved ones may be confined to different rooms or even different countries, they can still interact physically as if they were right next to each other.

This project was made in collaboration with Guilherme V Araujo, Khali Glenn and Monica Joshi for mechanical engineering’s Capstone Design course.

Project video: http://tv.seas.columbia.edu/videos/664/60/89

Project report: HTH final report [pdf]

2010. Custom designed and fabricated robotic mechanism, stepper motors, Bluesmirf bluetooth modules, Arduinos, teddy bear skin from Build-a-bear.