January 14, 2011 Leave a comment
Readers may remember that a couple of years ago we reported on a project to create Mutsugoto, a virtual intimacy device, which promised to allow couples to caress one another even if they were geographically separated. Moray-based Distance Lab used a combination of cameras and lights to let partners virtually “touch” each other while lying on their beds miles apart, which, we commented at the time, seemed a much more promising way of communicating real feelings than interacting in Second Life, as it was directly sensual and avoided all the cerebral processing inherent in text-based liasons.
Sadly, this week we heard the news that the company had been wound up, though not before burning through £3 million of taxpayers money. It seems that the gentle and relaxing Mutsugoto wasn’t what people were thinking of when they heard the words “virtual intimacy”. More surprisingly, Distance Lab’s other product, Remote Impact, which allowed far-flung combatants to viciously beat one another, also bombed. In today’s world, where one finds anger and aggression simmering at every turn, I would have thought that that would have been a winner.