Page last updated at 00:34 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 01:34 UK

Couples to test 'intimacy' device

The device allows users to draw in light on each other

Couples in long distance relationships are being sought to try out a prototype device designed to communicate intimacy from their bedrooms.

Moray-based technology laboratory, Distance Lab, hopes to find three couples willing to use Mutsugoto.

The device allows couples, who are separated by distance, to draw in light on each other's bodies or beds.

Stefan Agamanolis, one of its three developers, said it will be the first time it is tested in this way.

Volunteers will be sought at the Edinburgh Arts Festival in August.

Distance Lab, which describes itself as a creative research organisation, hope to find couples where one partner lives in the capital while the other, who will be given a portable device, lives a few hundred miles away.

Interactive fighting

Mutsugoto has been in development for about two years and involves artist Tomoko Hayashi.

The project recently won an award from the Alt-w Production Fund.

Mr Agamanolis said the device was designed to communicate intimacy and to offer an alternative to text and e-mail messaging.

While lying on their beds miles away from each other, the couples wear touch-activated rings visible to a camera mounted above them.

A computer vision system tracks the movement of the ring as one of the device's users passes it across their own body, or bed.

At the same time these strokes are transmitted to and projected in beams of light on the body of their partner. The lines change colour if they cross.

From its base in Forres, Distance Lab runs projects in Moray and the Highlands and Islands.

It receives support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Also in development at the site is a game in which people can throw themselves at a life-sized image of an opponent who could be on the other side of the world.

Remote Impact is an interactive fighting game.

In the prototype, people battle a silhouette projected on to a mattress and can register brute force.

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