Yukai Engineering, the team behind the strangely adorable cat tail pillows, is back with a whimsical new invention. Launched at CES 2023, his Fufuly is another anxiety-reducing cushion from the Japanese company, but this time it features gentle rhythmic pulsations as its primary therapeutic tool. The idea is that when you hug Fufuly, its lifelike behavior stimulates your stomach and induces slow, deep breathing. Despite its conceived foam shape (perhaps to evoke images of puffs of air), the cushion felt like a mellow creature dozing in my arms. was mistaken for the cat Purr, but CEO Shunsuke Aoki assured me it was purely coincidental.
In this project, Yukai Engineering partnered with the University of Tokyo to study “rhythmic synchronization phenomena between individuals or between individuals and objects.” Think about how you usually feel calm when you have a baby or pet in your arms. It’s all subconscious. According to Aoki, “Just five minutes of his use of the cushion reduces the user’s stress level and improves his alertness.”
Fufuly has three modes of operation. There are self-explanatory ‘regular’ and ‘deep’ modes for your calming needs, and a third mode is based on common relaxation breathing techniques. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to change the mode on the show floor prototype. He added that it was decided to develop the latter first.
Another new device that Yukai Engineering showed off is the Lightony. This is a cute human shaped bedside lamp that literally nods after a while. Perhaps the robot’s lifelike head-tilt and eye-roll movements will encourage you to fall asleep faster, but it’s also possible that your kids will stay awake while playing with this toy.Lightony also responds to voice commands (all processed locally, not in the cloud). So you can tell the robot to set a countdown when you’re in bed, or say ‘good morning’ to wake it up.
Aoki told Engadget that Fufuly will launch in Japan this year via crowdfunding, after which it will eventually launch globally, though pricing has yet to be announced. It’s still in early development and should be updated later.
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