Japanese Researcher Create Cute Robot Finger Rings

Researchers to Keio University in Japan have created some incredibly cute robot rings you can wear on your fingers, DigInfo reports.

The robots include two eyes and a mouth piece that slip onto your fingers. They’re controlled by a microcontroller attached to a laptop.

“When you wear this robot on your hand, it forms a medium for communication using the hand. So the robot serves as a device for enhancing the animal-like, imitative ways that people use their hands,” Masayasu Ogata of Keio University said.

“Until now, robots have usually communicated with people from a distance. That’s also true of pet robots like AIBO, and androids. Until now, robots haven’t been attached to the human body. We’ve designed this ring-shaped robot as an entertaining communication device, like an accessory that’s fun to wear, to help wearable robots progress beyond the research stage,” he said.

The robots are controlled manually, but the researchers hope that they can eventually have them respond to their environment. “First of all, this device resembles a toy,” Ogata said. “So we want to make it more like a character, like when children or their parents play finger games. That would enable a new form of interactive play. We’d also like to incorporate this robot into the way children use their hands to communicate with each other.”

It’s not hard to imagine these things becoming a hot holiday toy someday. The eyes and mouth already resemble the Furby, which was the must-have toy of its day. If some company could manufacture them in a cost-effective way, perhaps we could see kids playing with robot faces on their hands. Even as a grown adult, I seriously want to play with these things, if only for a little while.

We also covered a other research projects from Keio University, a plant that shows emotions and an interactive poster that kisses back.