Animals are therapeutic stress relievers, that’s a well-known fact.
Cuddling with your dog or cat can be incredibly helpful when you’re stressed to the limit. But what if you don’t have a pet to cuddle? Must you lose out on those benefits just because you’re allergic, or don’t have the time, capacity or living situation to take care of another living thing?
No, says Yukai Engineering, you can simulate the experience with a robotic pillow that has one key feature: a wagging tail.
The Qoobo is a round lap pillow with a faux-fur pelt and a tail that waves gently when the user caresses the pillow and swings around when the pillow is more strongly rubbed. It also throws out the occasional random wag, even when not being pet.
Though the team doesn’t go too much into depth on their Kickstarter page about how the approximately 2.2 pound robot pillow works, it does say that it “developed a mechanism that closely mimics the complex movements of an animal’s tail,” and designed its program after observing and researching animal movements.
It’s available in the colour variants ‘Husky Grey’ and ‘French Brown’ — no word on when an English version will come out — but the company also notes that the pelts are removable and can be replaced with a fabric of the user’s choice.
The company, which has a significant roster of robots and other gadgets under its belt, is selling Qoobo for about $150 CAD via Kickstarter with an estimated delivery of September 2018.
I am lucky enough to have my own cat — his name is Colby Jack and he’s a perfect boy — and therefore can call on his excellent calming skills when I need to relax. But many aren’t so fortunate, and I think a simple, tail-wagging robot pillow could be a great solution without getting into creepy, uncanny valley robot cat or dog territory.
It is expensive, I’ll admit, but mental health is priceless and I can attest — tail wags can turn your day around.