The creators of the oddly endearing cat tail cushion, Yukai Engineering, are back with a new eccentric creation.
The Fufuly, a new anxiety-relieving cushion from the Japanese manufacturer shown at CES 2023, uses a mild rhythmical pulsing as its primary therapeutic mechanism this time around.
It is said that a Fufuly’s lifelike behavior stimulates your belly, causing your breathing to become slower and deeper, when you are hugging it. Despite being shaped like a thinking bubble and intended to resemble a puff of air, the cushion seemed more like a relaxed animal dozing asleep in my arms. Even the subtle mechanical noise fooled me into thinking it was a cat purring, but CEO Shunsuke Aoki told me that this was only a coincidence.
The University of Tokyo conducted research on the “phenomenon of rhythmical synchronization between individuals or between individuals and things” when they interact with one another, and Yukai Engineering collaborated with it on this project. It’s all subconscious, but consider how we typically feel at ease when we are holding a newborn or a pet in our arms. According to Aoki, using the cushion for just five minutes can lower users’ stress levels and increase their alertness.
The Fufuly has three operating modes that you can choose from to fit your needs for relaxation: “regular,” “deep,” and a third mode based on standard relaxation breathing techniques. Sadly, on the exhibition floor we couldn’t switch modes with the prototype. Aoki added that his team already had the idea of a pulsating cushion around the same time as the Qoobo cat tail pillow, but in the end, they decided to develop the latter first.
Yukai Engineering also debuted Lightony, a charming humanoid bedside lamp that eventually literally falls asleep. Though it’s also feasible that youngsters might simply remain up as they play with this toy, the robot’s lifelike head tilt and eye roll actions are said to urge you to fall asleep faster. Lightony may be instructed to set a countdown while you’re in bed or to wake up by saying “good morning” using voice commands that are all processed locally rather than in the cloud.
Aoki revealed to Engadget that the Fufuly will initially launch in Japan this year through crowdfunding before eventually going global. However, no price has been revealed as of yet. We’ll have to check back later for an update on the Lightony because it is still in the early stages of development.