Microsoft can no longer be considered solely as a ‘software giant’, not with devices like the Xbox, Surface, and Nokia under their wings. In addition to PC accessories and the upcoming “smartwatch” of course. If we were to guess what the company’s next plunge in hardware would be, we’d say a Surface laptop perhaps, not a mood-actuated robotic butterfly.
The idea for the device came from Microsoft’s recognition that while there are a number of devices available to detect stress, very few are available for stress intervention. The butterfly is designed to react accordingly to the different emotional states of its user. For example, if the user is calm, the butterfly’s wings would move slowly, resulting in a “gentle hover”. On the other hand, if a user is stressed, or angry, the butterfly’s wings would move faster and further, resulting in a “large flap” of its wings. Speaking of the wings, the patents notes that they will be made of a flexible material that will be able to change shape and texture, becoming flat or crumpled, again as a response to mood changes.
To determine those mood changes, the butterfly will rely on external devices such as heart-rate monitors, and galvanic skin response monitors, in addition to direct user input from a smartphone app. This positions the robot butterfly as more of a medical device than a consumer electronics one, so its availability may be limited. You can read more about the robot via the source link below.