Desperate for the loving touch of another human? A group of researchers in France have come up with robotic finger to ease your loneliness: a lifelike finger that attaches to your smartphone and strokes your hand.
The not-at-all-creepy MobiLimb has joints that allow it to function like a real finger. Its creators — Marc Teyssier, Gilles Bailly, Catherine Pelachaud and Eric Lecolinet — say the device has multiple use cases.
For starters, when attached to the bottom of your phone, it can tickle your wrist, or reach around to caress the back of your hand.
“In the spirit of human augmentation, which aims at overcoming human body limitations by using robotic devices, our approach aims at overcoming mobile device limitations (static, passive, motionless) by using a robotic limb,” Teyssier wrote on his website.
Besides loving on you, the MobiLimb can move up and down to get your attention when you have a notification, serve as a kickstand to hold your phone upright, or act as a handle if you want to carry your device around like a shield. It can also “simulate personality and emotions such as curiosity” to entertain you, allow your device to move independently by clawing its way forward, and even hold a pen and draw a heart.
The researchers have designed several different textures for the MobiLimb, including a “classic robotic shell,” another made of fur and a third with realistic “finger-like” skin made of silicon.
“Using a humanlike skin with the phone illustrates changes the perception of the mobile device from an inanimate object to an ‘almost’ human entity,” Teyssier wrote.