The 4th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia
Conference 12-15 December • Exhibition 13-15 December • Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
 

Emerging Technologies

PINOKY: A Ring That Animates Your Plush Toys

We developed PINOKY, a mobile, ring-like device that can be used to animate any plush toy (such as moving its limbs, ears or tail). Since PINOKY is battery-powered and equipped with wireless communication, it can easily be attached to the toy externally, the same way a user puts on an accessory. The user is able to instantly convert any of his/her favorite plush toys at home into soft robots.
The PINOKY consists of a microcontroller, motors, photoreflectors, a wireless module and a battery. The motors are used to animate the plush toy, while photoreflectors are used to sense and record the direction and amount of user-defined movement. One possible application for the PINOKY is to add a new form of communication, over and above voice and video communication. Plush toys located remotely can be synchronized so that callers communicate not only via voice, but also by using the toy’s movements to express their thoughts and feelings. Besides that, PINOKY can be easily programmed, allowing users to input their desired movement into the plush toy simply by manipulating the toy. For more complex animations, multiple PINOKYs can also be used. As the PINOKY transforms regular plush toys into robots, this makes them suitable as robotic toys for children because they are soft.
Contrary to other methods which animate plush toys, our method is non-intrusive, as it does not require the user to make any alterations to the toy. Thus, the user is able to instantly convert any of his favorite plush toys at home into soft robots.

Yuta Sugiura, Keio University and Japan Science and Technology Agency
Calista Lee, Keio University
Anusha Withana, Keio University
Yasutoshi Makino, Keio University
Masahiko Inami, Keio University and Japan Science and Technology Agency
Takeo Igarashi, The University of Tokyo and Japan Science and Technology Agency