Tue, Nov 29, 2005 - Page 4 News List

`Poultry Internet' touches consumers


Touching a pet or child across cyberspace will be possible with a system developed in Singapore that seeks to transmit sensation via the Internet, researchers said yesterday.

The innovation is aimed at helping people communicate with pets and children wherever they might be, said James Teh of Nanyang Technological University's Interaction and Entertainment Research Center.

"Poultry Internet" is the first focus, Teh said, adding he felt chickens are "badly treated but make highly intelligent pets."

Elaborating on the two parts of the system, Teh said that a camera captures how the pet fowl, wearing a wireless, sensor-rigged jacket, is moving inside its coop in the "home" set-up.

The information is transmitted over the Internet to the "office" set-up, where a model of the pet moves like its live counterpart.

When the owner touches the model, the signals are transformed into data and reproduced as a series of vibrations on a jacket worn by the pet, Teh said.

The system, still in the testing stage, gives the chicken the feeling of being touched by its owner.

He has been working on the project for two years with center director Adrian David Cheok and center manager Lee Shang Ping.

Transmitting hugs comes next, using the same concept, the researchers said.

"These days, parents go on a lot of business trips, but with children, hugging and touching are very important parts of communication," Cheok said.

Under consideration in the project is a wireless, sensor-rigged pyjama suit to be worn by children. Parents wearing a similar suit could be hugged back by their children, he added.

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