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Long-distance relationships - volunteers for new technology?

I quite often read blogs where the blogger is involved in long-distance relationships (LDR) - typically they will be students, or ex-students who met as students. I also met my partner at university and, before we got married, me and WW also had to spend time apart and it was never easy, especially when you feel lonely and all you want is a cuddle and to fall asleep with the one you love... Thankfully, we had phones and emails, and we stuck it out - in a way, it may have made our relationship stronger as we learnt to appreciate each other in different ways.

Anyway - if any of you are in a LDR and one of you lives within 250 miles of Edinburgh, you can volunteer for an experiment with a new technology called 'Mutsugoto' (no idea what that means) - it is "an interactive installation that invites couples to experience an intimate communication over a distance." (Mutsugoto)
"Mutsugto allows distant partners to communicate through the language of touch as expressed on the canvas of the human body.
A custom projection system allows the two users to draw in light on each other's bodies whilst they lie in bed. Drawings are transmitted live between their two locations, enabling a different kind of communication that leverages the emotional quality of physical gesture." (Mutsugoto)

From what I can gather, each person has a 'ring' which they wear on their hand and while they see a real-time image of the other person, they move their hand and the other person sees that movement as light patterns on his/her body. It sounds like an interesting idea, and I can imagine that if we had had that we could have used it to increase our sense of intimacy and connectedness. I wonder what it's like in practice though... what happens if the connection is slow and the other person keeps moving! :-D
"A computer vision system tracks the movement of the ring and projects virtual pen strokes on your body. At the same time these pen strokes are transmitted to and projected on the body of your remote partner. If you follow your partner's movements and your strokes cross, the lines will react with each other and reflect your synchrony." (Mutsugoto)

Well, anyway, if you're living near Edinburgh and in a LDR - I wouldn't hesitate to volunteer. At a minimum your partner will appreciate the effort you make! The most difficult thing about a LDR is the fear that the other one is slipping away from you and not making as much effort as you do to keep the relationship going.


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bernard on :

What an experiment!! Merely following the pattern of movement and pen strokes..I can't imagine Julian.

julian on :

Worth trying, one day I guess there'll be many more possibilities... they also do some kind of full contact game where you can 'hit' the other person :-)

sexyinred on :

Woah!!! :-O I couldn't really imagined it but it's cool!

julian on :

I'm sure you can choose red as a colour too :-P

Jane Woo on :

Hi Julian,

Mutsugoto in Japanese is ???literally means harmonious (?) words (?). The word mutsugoto means lovers' talk or whispered intimacy.

Jane :-)

julian on :

Ah that makes sense :-)

Wen Li on :

This is really interesting and sounds a little freaky to me looking at the pen strokes and all.

I was quite amazed that they have technologies as such nowadays. It keeps me wondering if this technology is truly gonna make it in future. It certainly does help to enhance LDR but ultimately the effort to sustain the relationship is definitely an important element!

For your interest????? is written as ?? (the japanese kanji). ? bearing the meaning of to be intimate/close while ? alone do means word or statement but precisely to be translated as whispered intimacy or lovers' talk (also mentioned by Jane).

Nice post Julian! I miss your lectures back in HELP. Be it Anthropology or Western Philosophy it was great! :-) Look forward to your interesting posts in future!


julian on :

Thanks for the info - you speak Japanese also?

I also miss those days sometimes, though I'm happy doing what I do now also. Will try to continue keeping your mind working! :-)

julian on :

hmmm... that sounds a bit weird :-| I mean, I hope I can continue to provide interesting stuff...

Wen Li on :

Somehow the japanese words arent visible?on the page now! I have been learning Japanese for 2 years in Aus now. Interesting indeed! :-)

I did French and Italian with you in HELP but one semester of it was not really sufficient. Great to read these posts from u! and I must add that your research topic in blogging is really a cool one!

julian on :

Ya that must be some formatting issue... dunno why it changed.

Yes, one semester of language is not a lot. Glad you like the topic! It's important for a PhD to be doing something new.

Addy on :

Good post, Julian. Another level of human intimacy embedded in media, thanks to artificial intelligence tech.

This has been around for quite some time ( -

Take some time to read the other projects around the world in trying to achieve human connectedness via technology. It's fascinating, I tell ya. :-)

julian on :

Wow there's some pretty cool stuff in there! Could have some pretty scary applications too, if someone put their mind to it... :-O

renaye on :

wow. that red laser thing sounds so surreal! anyway ... we r so heading to star trek-like technology!

julian on :

Ya, I wish we could fast-forward and get to use now all those super gadgets they'll be inventing!

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