When you're feeling stressed, do you sometimes absentmindedly nibble on your finger? It helps a little, right? Now imagine a robot that can do it for you. That's the simple and slightly strange concept behind Yukai Engineering's new Amagami Ham Ham robot bear, which the company is unveiling at CES 2022: Stick your finger in its tiny mouth and it will nibble on the digit.
The character design is based on Liv Heart's Nemu Nemu (opens in new tab) series, which, somewhat unsurprisingly, deals with a white bear who creates "Healing Study School" to help humans relax and heal. While there are no images on Liv Heart's site of these bears nibbling any human parts, it's clear that Amagami Ham Ham's intention is the same.
Amagami, which in Japanese means "soft biting," doesn't just automatically chomp down on a finger when you place one in its soft fabric mouth. According to Yukai Engineering CMO Tsubasa Tominaga, the robot algorithm provides for two dozen different nibbling styles. There's no description of the different modes, but all appear to be "gentle."
In any case, the robot's tiny mouth accommodates only the tip of any finger, though a small child might be able to jam in most of an index finger.
“Most people like the nibbling sensation but know they need to teach their children or pets to stop it, because kids and animals will otherwise bite them with full force eventually. ‘AMAGAMI HAM HAM’ is a robot that frees humankind from the conundrum of whether ‘to pursue or not to pursue the forbidden pleasure,” said Tominaga in a release.
This isn't Yukai Engineering's first head-scratching (or brilliant) robot creation. A few years back we tried out the company's Qoobo robot, which was essentially a round stuffed pillow with a lively tail. It responded to strokes and squeezes.
Amagami Ham Ham, which comes in Calico Cat and Shiba Inu designs, will launch as a crowd-funded project in the spring. Company representatives told TechRadar they expect to sell AMAGAMI HAM HAM for approximately $40.