To conquer the modern day pressures of loneliness, this rather bizarre shoulder-mounted MH-2 (or 'miniature humanoid') will follow you through the day, perched on your shoulder, and offer a holographic visual presence of any of your closest people.

Created by a team of Japanese engineers at Yamagata University, this telepresence robot isn't so portable as of yet, running off a backpack full of 22 servos; but is set to take part in this year's IEEE International Conference On Robotics And Automation.  The key design aim is for this to act like your virtual shoulder-dwelling friend, comrade and chaperone, depending entirely on what the person controlling it wants from them.

The avatar can take the form of any of your friends and family, plus thanks to the complex combination of flexible joints it does well to mimic user movements, even down to re-enacting their breathing pattern.  While it could be interpreted as slightly creepy, the concept is still pretty fascinating.  And as the trend is with cybernetics, the components will get smaller, lightweight and more efficient, leading to the possibility of seeing a robotic Jiminy Cricket on everyone's shoulder when this hits primetime.

Not for me though...I hate Jiminy Cricket.

Source: IEEE Spectrum

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