Japanese Robot Rings Redefine the Face Palm

Behold the future of digital communications... as imagined by the late Señor Wences, perhaps. The so-called PYGMY Robot Ring was introduced by Masayasu Ogata of Anzai Imai Lab at the Interaction 2012 Conference held earlier this month in Tokyo.

The concept involves a set of three rings constructed to approximate the look and movements of a mouth and a pair of eyes, all powered by electromagnetic servomechanisms.

The components closely resemble the eyes and mouth of a Furby, the holiday hit of 1998 and one of the first interactive robotic toys.

This raises the disturbing scenario of a mutilated hamster-owl cyborg locked in a darkened room back at Keio University, endlessly stumbling around in circles while liplessly cursing the developers responsible... but I digress.

Check out this short, English-subtitled video from DiginfoTV featuring Masayasu Ogata as he puts the prototype PYGMY through its paces:

Plans are in place for PYGMY to be further refined with the addition of motion sensors, allowing it to operate automatically in response to movements made by the wearer and other people in the vicinity... sort of like a friendly “helping hand” that will assist elderly and/or disabled wearers go about their daily activities and help maintain their independence.

Of course, we won't want PYGMY to be TOO helpful, perhaps to the point where the wearer's independence would be an inconvenience to PYGMY and the master-servant relationship gets turned on its head.

Nah, that could never happen... the way it happened in Meet the Robinsons. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late for a meeting and I need to finish getting ready... Oh Doris! (via CNET and Ubergizmo)