Professor working on programming pyjamas to give out hugs

No child’s play: Cheok and his daughter Kotoko showing off rings which can remotely send a gentle squeeze to the other user.

KUALA LUMPUR: In the world envisioned by Prof Adrian David Cheok, computing wouldn’t just be something you see or hear. It would be experienced with all the senses.

Cheok, a professor of pervasive computing at the City University London, has been researching ways to incorporate touch, sight, sound, smell and taste into computing for many years.

He calls it the world of “mixed reality”, where one will be able to use special pyjamas to give each other hugs even when miles apart.

Such pyjamas may seem trivial but it has a real-world application.

“Some autistic children can only be calmed by hugs,” Cheok said at the KL Converge! 2015 annual conference and exhibition held here from Thursday to Saturday.

The event was organised to advance the digital lifestyles of all Malaysians through converged communications. This year’s theme was Convergence and Digital Inclusion.

Cheok showed a pair of couple rings – when one user activates the ring, the other receives a “squeeze”.

Also in the works is a kissing robot that allows two users in different locations to “kiss” each other.

The robot, shaped like a rabbit, has lips with sensors to detect and measure the pressure of a kiss. When two users put their lips to the robots, they will transmit the “kiss” to each other in real time.

“You’re probably wondering why we made the robot look like a cute rabbit. We originally made it look like a human head and everyone said it looked and felt creepy,” said the Australian-born Cheok.

Research in pervasive computing doesn’t stop at that – scientists are also working on making glasses that can produce scent.

This can help improve the mood between two users by releasing pleasant scents as they chat, Cheok revealed.

He showed a demo with several funny scenarios where the product could be used – for instance, a poor student could make it release the aroma of a steak dinner to augment a plate of rice.

The device has already been used for marketing purposes in some countries, he added.

To introduce the sense of taste into the world of computing, scientists are working on a device that can be placed on the tongue – it will produce electricity to stimulate the taste receptors to have the user experience different flavours.

Cheok showed a demo at KL converge where he placed the gadget on a user’s tongue and made it produce a lemon-like flavour.

Cheok said the product could be used by children who could virtually cook a dish and then taste and smell it without having to use fire which could be dangerous.

“In the future, two friends can have dinner together even if they are worlds apart,” he quipped.


Adrian Cheok Invited Speaker at KL CONVERGE!



Professor Adrian Cheok will be giving a speech in a digital content and creative industry event, KL CONVERGE!, on Friday 28 Aug 2015 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

KL CONVERGE! is a multi-platform digital content and creative industry event showcasing the world’s latest achievements and opportunities in the music, film, gaming and Internet space.

An immersive experience to show how technology and content is an everyday part of our lives, the theme of KL CONVERGE! revolves around ‘see’, ‘touch’, ‘feel’, ‘hear’, ‘show’, ‘speak’ and ‘cheer’. Bringing together leading industry executives from multimedia, applications, Internet and creative content to discuss, deliberate, showcase and celebrate the issues, opportunities and successes in digital space.

ARea 15 Conference Keynote Speech

Professor Adrian Cheok gave his keynote speech, Everysense Everywhere Communication, in ARea 15 on 12 Jun. ARea 15 was an exciting two-day augmented reality conference held in Turku, Finland. It was hosted by Technology Research Center’s Mixed Reality research group. The theme in 2015 is augmented reality in culture & travel.


Watch full keynote speech


All our communication over the internet today happens over two senses – audio and visual – but what if we could also smell, touch and taste through our devices? That is the future Professor of Pervasive Computing Adrian David Cheok is working towards in his research. We ask Adrian about the science behind his research as well as the social, cultural and psychological implications of having virtual experiences as good as the real ones.

Professor Adrian David Cheok will be delivering a talk titled “Everywhere, Everysense Communication” at the TEDxKL conference this Saturday, August 8th, at the Indoor Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil.