Yukai Engineering, the company that brought you that headless cat robot (opens in new tab) – sorry, "tailed cushion that heals your heart" – has come through strong again at CES 2022. The newest addition to its range, and walking a similar line between appealing and just weird, is a cuddly toy that nibbles your fingers. It's called the Amagami Ham Ham (opens in new tab).
The concept is based on the assumption that we all harbour a secret desire to have our fingers nibbled, but we can't really enjoy the 'nibbling' stage with babies or puppies, for instance, because we have to teach said infants that biting is bad, before their confidence and teeth grow enough to do some real damage to whatever they decide to munch on. The finer wording might have been a victim of translation issues, but I'm pretty confident that's the gist.
Not convinced you do have a secret desire for some covert finger-nibbling? Take a look at the GIF below and tell me you don't even want to give it a try.
The idea is that it's soothing and stress-relieving. Hey, weighted blankets sounded odd when they first hit the mainstream, too, so perhaps you shouldn't judge it until you've tried it.
This is no simple bitey robot, either. TechCrunch (opens in new tab) reports that the Amagami Ham Ham is driven by a 'Hamgorithm' that's armed with over 20 nibbling patterns, so you can be surprised every time you stick your finger in your new cuddly friend's mouth. Patterns apparently include "Tasting Ham, Massaging Ham and Suction Ham". (It's helpful to know that 'ham' roughly translates to 'bite' in Japanese). There are also two designs to choose from, both based on characters from Liv Heart's Nemu Nemu series: Yuzu (a calico cat) and Kotaro (a shiba inu dog).