Carve another notch in the techie belt of loneliness; those misanthropic tech developers from Japan have struck again. What’s their latest contraption of synthetic affection, you ask? Try this on for size: a “girlfriend coat.”
Developed by a team of students from the University of Tsukuba, the girlfriend coat looks like any other coat at first glance. Actually, it’s one of those hooded toggle coats that everyone and their brother seems to be wearing these days. Yo, 1975? Yeah, there’s a call for you.
Anyway, any accrued style points are erased once the wearer fastens the device’s belt around the waist. The nylon belt, which is an eye-puckering shade of safety green, is threaded through what appears to be sawed-off sections of PVC pipe. On the backside of the waist is a mechanical device that tightens the belt, thus causing the piping to “hug” whoever is wearing the coat. But the truly immersive cherry on top is this: headphones are worn so that wearers hear a female voice that says “I’m sorry! I’m late!”
“If I have a girlfriend, I think it’s a good situation that she suddenly hug me from behind when [I'm] waiting for her in the station,” developer Maito Omori said in this YouTube video.
In Japanese, the girlfriend coat is called “Riajyuu Coat.” According to Kotaku, “riajyuu” is slang for “someone who is pleased with their life outside the Internet.”
Obviously, this “coat” should be taken with a grain of salt. In fact, it doesn’t really seem like a coat at all — more like a system cobbled together with materials laying around a garage, then refined in the electronics lab, that can be “worn” with any coat. Still, Omori and the dudes behind the tongue-in-cheek coat seem to have a playfulness about them that negates anyone who thinks they’re taking themselves too seriously. Need proof? Check out the way they crack up in laughter at the end of their video.
Don’t expect to see this “coat” on the streets of Japan anytime soon. It’s not for sale and remains more of a concept device so “everyone can get the feeling of having a girlfriend,” according hardware engineer Hikaru Sugiura.
But this is the 21st Century, right? There are lonely ladies and gents out there who might prefer a “boyfriend coat.” Hmm, I wonder what stereotypical boyfriend phrase would be used in the headphones? Feel free to sound off in the comments below.
Credit: YouTube screen grab