Eggheads Invent Tele-Petting
By Lakshmi Sandhana
02:00 AM May. 17, 2005 PT
Researchers have developed a cybernetic system to allow physical
interaction over the internet. The system allows touching and feeling
of animals or other humans in real time, but it's first being tried out
on -- chickens.
ou walk into your office, where a hollow, chicken-shaped doll sits on a
mechanical positioning table close to your computer.
The doll whirs to life as soon as you switch on the system, duplicating
the motion of a real chicken in the backyard whose movements are being
captured by a webcam.
Fondling the doll translates into touching the real fowl.
Touch sensors attached to the doll convey tactile information to a
nearby PC through radio signals. The data is sent over the internet to
a remote computer near the chicken; the remote computer triggers tiny
vibration motors in a lightweight haptic jacket worn by the fowl.