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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

The Tribble-like robot with smart fur

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: Anna Flagg)

The Cuddlebot, a fluffy, Tribble-like robot designed with therapeutic purposes in mind, has conductive fur that allows the robot to respond to your touch.

And not just any response; the Cuddlebot, made by Canadian artist and computer scientist Anna Flag, can differentiate between nine different kinds of touch, and respond in different ways.

It's an upgrade of the Haptic Creature by students and researchers at the University of British Columbia, a robot that purs when you stroke it.

Cuddlebot is much more advanced. Conductive threads in the fur are combined with a double layer of piezoresistive pressure-sensor fabric to let the robot know whether it's being poked, stroked, tickled or scratched, and respond accordingly — and, after a while, it can even differentiate the way different people touch it.

In the future, Flagg hopes that Cuddlebot will learn to infer a person's mood by the way it is being touched, and serve as a sort of therapy pet — one that doesn't need to be fed or walked.

We just hope they don't give it teeth.

(Credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Watch the Cuddlebot in action in the video below, and read more about it on Flagg's website.


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