Let’s not be shy to admit that we all suffer from anxiety, depression, or stress at some point in our lives. It is very human to feel low and it is fine to desire admiration, love, and care from your fellow beings. But if the world isn’t kind enough to give you a hug, try a robot for once. Well, that’s the philosophy Yukai Engineering is trying to sell at CES 2023.
Fufuly is an anxiety-reducing cushion robot by Yukai Engineering (Japanese boutique robotics firm). The maker claims that by merely hugging the Fufuly super tight, the cushion will subconsciously adjust your breathing and help you relax and rest. Unveiled in Vegas, the robot cushion features a gentle rhythmical pulsation that acts as the main therapeutic tool.
Yukai Engineering previously launched the Qoobo robot cat pillow in 2017; the much-touted innovation was said to release stress and eliminate the feeling of loneliness. With another soft-toy kind of innovation, the company is trying to strengthen its hold in the mental health product market, which I believe will see a boom in the coming years.
The company states, “The cushion healthfully utilizes the well-known phenomenon of rhythmical synchronization between individuals or between individuals and objects”. It milks on similar harmony as seen between ‘speakers and listeners’ for instance. Engadget revealed there are three modes on the Fufuly cushion, including ‘regular, deep, and a relaxation breathing technique’ that can help you quickly reduce anxiety.
Whether it’s a product that will help you overcome your emotional turmoil or not, only time will tell. But for now, Fufuly mechanically expands and contracts to achieve the right rhythm and amplitude. Another important fact to consider is that it is a battery-operated robot. It is still machine washable, but you need to be a little careful with the fiber. Lightweight and portable, the Fufuly cushion can be carried anywhere.
Sometimes I ponder, what our ancestors would think of us who fought saber-toothed predators and kept body and soul together amid wars. Did they want us someday to hug a vibrating pillow and calm anxiety? Where we are heading as a civilization?