DigInfoTV, a web tv channel on YouTube dedicated to Japanese technology, reported that researchers at Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) designed a system which allows a user to play the “Pocky Game” by himself.
WTF is the “Pocky Game?”
The “Pocky Game” is a popular childhood game traditionally played by a pair of players wherein the objective is to kiss each other. The two players take a Pocky stick, put each end in their mouths simultaneously, and chew till they reach the center and thus each other.
It’s as simple as that, but if you need a wikiHow article on the rules, here ya go: How to Play the Pocky Game.
A machine for lonely otakus
Of course, the lonely otaku has no partner to play the coveted “Pocky Game” with. Until now.
According to DigInfo: “The Pocky Game is a game where two players eat a Pocky from both ends and eventually kiss. However, you can’t play without a partner. But wouldn’t the game be even better if your partner was your ideal partner? We have developed a system where a user can experience ‘mastication communication’ with his/her favorite character or celebrity.”
Previously, the otaku’s sentiments towards the game was a mix of contempt and jealousy. Now, with the invention of this machine and potential future upgrades, otakus can rejoice at the possibility of playing the “Pocky Game” with AKB48 idols and 2D anime characters.
The system “shaves off the pocky from one end sending the sensation of mastication to the user. As the game progresses, the system will also push itself closer to the user’s face until finally, the lips made out of gummy kiss the user and the game finishes.”
Some research appears to have went into the machine’s creation: “A servo motor was used to create the distinct vibrations and sounds of mastication. Several variations on the mechanics were tested on users to find the most authentic sensation.” I’d like to see the scene where the researchers tried playing the Pocky Game with each other to find out how it should really feel.
So what are the researchers’ future plans with this project? They list: add further interactivity, allow the game to be played remotely by two players, and improve on preventing the Pocky from snapping prematurely. We know we all have that last problem.
Finally, here’s the video of the robot in question. I don’t think you need to understand Japanese to tell how creepily and grossly he talks.