Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Intimacy Device

A very peculiar news item on BBC website “Intimacy device lab ceases trading” caught my attention. Though not interested in a Scottish lab (Distance Lab), my curious technical mind would not give up the quest for the definition of so called ‘Intimacy Device’. Disbelief and astonishment stuck my brain and is still trying to comprehend that scientists can come up with something so bizarre.

So what is an Intimacy Device?

The Intimacy Device called Mutsugoto, proposed to be deployed in bedrooms of romantic couples living apart, provides couples ability to virtually draw on remotely located partner’s body using a pen stroke on own body that are reflected on partner’s body by installed devices on both locations. Inventors claim that with the reflected red light and own imagination one feels the touch without being actually touched. See the link below including Frequently Asked Question.

Lab is closed after two years of work but it is astounding that inventors believed that commonsense would not prevail and romantic couples would spend money on reflecting red light on each other. Being an Engineering graduate, I believe in technology but feasibility and requirement are the foundation stones and ethics are critical as well. Assuming it was feasible, simulation of human touch will always be non real. Even if the Intimacy Device worked, the result: VIRTUAL OR FAKE INTIMACY. Don’t we all strive for true love and intimacy?

What are your thoughts?


Anjuli said...

I'm flabbergasted to think of all the time and effort which went into this device! I'm just shaking my head as I read through this write up = it is amazing what people will try to concoct these days. As you said, technology might be capable of many things- but I think there is no replacement for the REAL thing!

Mangala said...

What???? R u serious??????

Tanishka said...

I think no technology or device can substitute the real touch and the presence of your loved one...

jemina said...

This is interesting, and perhaps could work for long distance relationship that is :), I hope there's more news on this, he he he :)


Anonymous said...

This is the first I am hearing of this. I am not sure how to react either. Waste of time and money. Thats what I think.

RiĆ  said...

Sounds interesting mebbe i shud get one for myself!! :P

Rama Ananth said...

Sounds like a job done by jobless people.

shuchita said...

What a stupid thing and a grand waste of money, time and efforts

Bikram said...

waste of money .. :(

sm said...

interesting device it will work if marketed properly.
your comment regarding no change in law is answered.

Neeha said...

I couldn't believe it.But you know if I say this,mad scientist will come up with hypothesis,proof n all that stuff.
So better I shut my mouth n leave my opinions aside.

Tanvi said...

I had no idea. But I do not think it is of any use to me! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh My God!! This is unreal!

Are they serious about this - "Cyberspace virtual love"!! What a pathetic sadistic sneaky little way to lure your own mind into believing that you have INTIMACY?? And Intimacy with what, the right light?! Really?

Whatever happened to holding hands, cuddling, and.... Human race is doomed!!

DM said...

Its a start, howsoever weird is sounds.

Here is a cut and paste from weirdest predictions by some very famous people..

Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility--a development which we should waste little time dreaming about.
- Lee de Forest, 1926, inventor of the cathode ray tube

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
- Thomas J. Watson, 1943, Chairman of the Board of IBM

It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.
- Albert Einstein's teacher to his father, 1895

It will be years - not in my time - before a woman will become Prime Minister.
- Margaret Thatcher, 1974

This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
- Western Union internal memo, 1876

We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.
- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?
- H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

640K ought to be enough for anybody.
- Bill Gates, 1981

Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.
- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.
- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

We don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.
- Hewlett-Packard's rejection of Steve Jobs, who went on to found Apple Computers

King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.

An official of the White Star Line, speaking of the firm's newly built flagship, the Titanic, launched in 1912, declared that the ship was unsinkable.

In 1939 The New York Times said the problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn't have time for it.

An English astronomy professor said in the early 19th century that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate.

Airplanes are interesting toys, but they have no military value.
- Marshal Ferdinand Foch in 1911 said...

well ..this is another BS (bull shit)on its own kind..
I saw the link...its pathetic they look like patients with some kind of therapy given to them..
to me its not feasible ,technology makes this human a handicapped person
its a flaw!!!!

raji said...

Oh god!A where on earth do you hear and research such vivid news?This really seems funny as well as interesting!These people donot have better work I feel.what you quoted at the end is absolutely true.

raji said...

I liked dm's statements which he wrote there above.

ceedy said...

Can be useful to people who do not have limbs and still want to experience physical intimacy...

kiran sawhney said...

Everything now will be fake. We have processed food, test tube babies, virtual sex, and now intimacy device. Where will human touch go?

NRIGirl said...

Unbelievable! Hard to even imagine... Thank you for bringing it to our knowledge.

Amrit said...

@Dear All,

As with my numerous posts, comments are more interesting in this case too. Thanks. As I read the first comment, my wife wanted to hear all comments.


Welcome back. That was my first reaction too. I completely agree with you.


I got it. As I said I did not believe it either but seems like that kind of research was going on.


Completely agree. No doubt. Thanks.


For the time being, Lab is closed. I don’t expect more news. Sorry. Thanks for commenting.


Well it gave employment to some people for 2 years. Thank.


Joke is good. Haha. Thanks


Job of jobless people – good comment. It gave jobs to some people for some time.


Yes. Seems like that. Waste of money.


Agree with you. It was in your UK though.


Very tough to market.


Yes. Hypothesis and proof is on the way. But does not work with Engineers – we need direct results.


Thanks. Long time. I had no clue about this before I read the article. I don’t feel it is use for anyone.

@Blogger Girl,

May be human race is doomed if we continue in this direction. I think we will stop before that. Thanks for wonderful comments.


All your quotes are pretty good. In all these cases the product/invention/person became a success. But there is a long list of inventions/products that never became success and no one kept quotes about those. Here are some examples from Time:-
- Nintendo Virtual Boy. It was in market for six months and then died. Nintendo’s shortest lived product.
- CuteCat…guess what was it?
- Hydrogenated oil.
- Hair in a can (buy hair and stick )
- Baby Cage (Patented)
- Shower hood
- Television in glasses

I think if an invention or product so closely affect the key aspects i.e. FEELINGS of the life, people are unlikely to accept it. Computer, Telephones, Television are not meant to emulate feelings. Another way to look at it, Test Tube baby is a reality but all the cases I know it was their last resort and that after too much thinking.

But who knows may be…it does become a is hard to guess for me.


Thanks for the compliment. Internet is our source …of course where else. I just post when I find something interesting. Thanks. I replied to DM too. His list is awesome.


So far the web site says red light ….not sure if it is a special light. I very much doubt. Also in FAQ, their reply was the person has to imagine…well they why so expensive equipment.


I think human touch will stay. See my reply to DM. Thanks.


Yes. I did not believe it either and that is why I read it more and made a post. Typically I post ‘G’ material and this one is on borderline but it is so bizarre, I could not resist. Thanks for comments.

blogsIread said...

freaky !! I wonder how the feasibility part was not taken into consideration when they started the experimentation.all said i think if applied and marketed properly,this device has great potential

Renu said...

Today this is the second post I am reading where technology is replacing human touch..I nevr would go for me virtual can nevr replace real..its not worth it.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Not something I would ever invest in. For goodness sake, it's so typical of a society that wants everything now. Far better the anticipation and reunion of a partner away from home.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting discussion. I guess when human race was living in tribes, no one would have guessed that a couple can stay connected living far away.. ( Same is true in some people beliefs for god too.. Not that I want to compare this device with god..)

To me "Intimacy Device" is just a marketing jig, however underlying concept is more revolutionary.

I am trying to be Devil's advocate here.

After all what is touch. ? It has no meaning unless you know the person, whether it is for intimacy or for your kid, or friend, or doctor for a patient..

IMHO, all this device is trying to accomplish is invoking the touch feeling remotely.. Rest is in our minds..

I do remember the excitement I had and my folks when first time I landed in this country and made the phone call.. Or when I got my first post card /letter from a loved one, which I was waiting impatiently..

My 2 cents..

Amrit said...


I am not sure about marketing aspect. If you take a small sample of reply in this post, majority beside two think it is good idea. Out of those two, not sure if anyone will buy as cost will come in play too. Thank for comments.


I agree with you.


That is an interesting perspective. Yes most people want everything now. Thanks.
@Anonymous (DM),
I do think distance makes people apart. Despite phone calls, emails, letters and video calls, a lot of people like me are losing touch with the people in India. We have communication means but mostly we exchange key information. We are not engaged in day to day life of parted people. I know some examples where husband and wife were separated and they could communicate using phone, email, letter, video conference but it is kind of difficult for them to live together now. Letters, emails, phone help but it is far from actual person’s presence. Recently I was in California and though I speak with my brother every day but being there was the real experience. I would say difference is like looking at a picture of scenic place or actual place. Specifically in this case, if you see pictures on their website, it is literally red light is flowing on person’s body and may be it generates some kind of body heat but far from touch. said...

where is ans to my comment:)???

Insignia said...

Ridiculous! though we could laud the progress, it doesnt make sense

R. Ramesh said...

ya it does not make sense at all..

Usha said...

A, thanks for this post.I am reading about this device for the first time. I didn't understand - both wear some captures your body moments and they are sent to other partner and both get some sort of light waves on body.

How this is transmitted ? via internet or phone? both are in deep sleep so when do they see those light waves on body and feel intimacy? Do they get gentle vibration when light waves are lit on body?

concept is very creative but I fail to understand how it can bring any sort of intimacy touches after you fell in deep sleep.

I think ones own mind is capable of feeling those intimate touches..Phone, internet helps to great do not need those bedroom gadgets to feel touch or intimacy...No wonder it is pulled out from research and sell.

sm said...

Thanks for comment on small state.
If time permits please read the following article.

Suggested Reading
India – Creation of Small States – Need of the Hour for INDIA

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

Soooo, this is interesting! Everyone seems very against this poor device! For the record, erm, I don't see myself investing in one of these, BUT, as someone who spends a lot of time in a long distance relationship, I don't think it's the craziest thing I've ever heard of. Long distance relationships are becoming more common with globalization and technological advances, so it's quite normal that somebody would seek to extend things like Skype into the physical realm. I can't imagine any couple living together wanting one of these, but I expect the concept is aimed at those who can't be together in the first place. Sometimes I wouldn't mind a pair of warm arms... perhaps these scientists could be put to better use developing hot water bottles in arm shapes?! ; D

Amrit said...


Sorry! I missed the reply in my earlier comment. Your comment is so funny. Yes in pictures, the ‘subjects’ do look like patients. So far technology has not made us handicapped. I am all for technological advancement if it is makes sense.


That was my first reaction too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


To me it does not make sense though it seems like for some people it makes sense but they are voicing their opinion with caution looking at the response of others.


I also heard it first time. The information is pretty limited to their website. The control to transmit light is through internet but actual beam is installed. I do not believe there is any kind of vibration involved. And it is not in deep sleep. DM also thinks the concept is creative.


Well for me it is the first thought that came to my mind. I did not analyze a lot. But at least three persons now – DM, you and Usha think that conceptually idea is creative. This is indeed their attempt to extend Skype concept to physical realm. As DM indicated initially several ideas look silly to inventors themselves. May be we all are wrong because we don’t need this kind of device.

Suruchi said...

I mean what is the world coming to?
At one point I feel it is creative n good for some...but then at the end of the day it is really virtual n hence you have nothing in the hand actually..literally n otherwise...sigh!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I am feeling ancient :|

dr.antony said...

Really interesting.But I seriously doubt it creates any kind of involvement.
Everything is fake,so why not a fake touch?Everything can be bought,even love.We are moving towards virtual experiences.Even virtual sex.