The researchers at Keio University here do some surprising work. They're breaking new ground with user interfaces and communication, both between man and machines, and between people. Their projects usually involve the application of readily available technology in new and different ways.
A good example is the PYGMY robot ring project presented by Masayasu Ogata (Anzai Imai Lab) at the Interaction 2012 Conference held last week in Tokyo.
The PYGMY robot rings, in their current phase of evolution, are used to express emotion and enhance interaction by activating a small display solenoid or servo attached to the ring. The ring display, in these photos decorated to resemble a blinking eye, can be controlled remotely by a special controller or feasibly by a smartphone application.
Applications demonstrated by Ogata during the conference included games, voice recognition, finger walking and kicking, and others. It was easy to imagine the potential to adapt the technology in a teaching environment, or perhaps even something more social, like parties or dating.
The ring displays could be customized with a wide range of figures, designs, or configurations - like the pair of lips shown to the right of the image above.
Each robot ring contains a miniaturized electronics pack that includes an Arduino processor, battery, and Bluetooth module.
Looks like Ogata must have drawn some of his inspiration from Star Trek's Spock. "Live long and prosper."