A new kind of dakimakura designed to provide fantasies that are actually based in reality.

It’s pretty widely assumed that the primary market for huggy pillows, or dakimakura, as they’re called in Japanese, is people without a real-life boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s a perception that meshes pretty easily with the existence of dakimakura with breast implants and unzippable shirts.

But the latest development in the dakimakura world is a huggy pillow specifically for people who do have a flesh-and-blood sweetheart…just not within arm’s reach.

Miwa Mayama, a student at Ishikawa Prefecture’s Kanazawa Institute of Technology, recently demonstrated a prototype of her HALOP long-distance relationship support system, a project inspired by the difficulties couples face trying to maintain emotional closeness during geographic separations. While advancements in technology have made it easy enough to whip out your phone and dash off a text to a far-off lover, they might not read it until much later, and that asynchronous quality can rob the message of its intended warmth. That problem is lessened with voice calls, but even those fail to convey the quiet, nonverbal reassurance of an extended hug.

So Mayama devised a system to make squeezing a huggy pillow feel more like cuddling up to your actual romantic partner. HALOP works like this: Your long-distance partner puts on a Fitbit fitness monitoring bracelet and logs into the web-based HALOP app. As the bracelet measures your partner’s heartbeat, the app transmits the sound of a heart beating at the same speed to your smartphone, which you stick inside a pocket in the huggy pillow, giving you the sensation of having your ear against their chest. Meanwhile, an electric heater inside the pillow simulates human body heat (though apparently at a constant temperature, not synced to your partner’s current condition).

Transferring the heartbeat data from the Fitbit to the recipient’s phone takes only a few seconds, making the replication almost real-time. However, some might see a problem with that: What if you’re relaxing or winding down with a HALOP hug, but your partner is going out for a jog or engaging in some other kind of fitness activity? Won’t that spoil the cozy cuddle session when your phone starts copying their pumped-up heart rate?

Not to worry, because you can also manually specify a heart rate you want HALOP to broadcast through your phone. As a matter of fact, Mayama says that if you happen to know the heart rate of your celebrity crush, you could program that in, showing that HALOP has something to offer those without a boyfriend/girlfriend too.

Source: Digital PR
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Digital PR
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