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Sometimes a reassuring squeeze of the hand can be the best feeling in the world, and with Frebble your loved ones can feel that tactile support, no matter where in the world you all are.
For a granddaughter calling grandma with special news, for a husband far away from a wife, for distant grown daughters who crave the comfort of their mother’s touch, for a best friend who wants to let her friend know it will all be ok, Frebble connects – as simply, subtly and as powerfully as though the person was right there with you.
While there are many ways to see and hear your loved ones through the power of the internet, the tactile element has been missing – until now. With Frebble, you can cut through the distance and share that smallest gesture – the squeeze of the hand – that means so much.
How Frebble Works
Connect to your loved ones through the squeeze of a hand, no matter where they are in the world. When you hold a Frebble device in your hand and squeeze it, your loved one will feel your reassuring touch in real time through their Frebble – no matter where you are talking to them from. Frebble is designed to fit perfectly in your hand and simulate the touch of holding and squeezing another person’s hand, and having that feeling reciprocated.
When you squeeze your Frebble, the corresponding Frebble in your loved one’s hand will gently apply pressure to the back of their hand, simulating what they would feel if you were holding hands right next to each other. When combined with a video chat service such as Skype or Google Hangouts, the experience is truly amazing. The miles fall away and for times when words are not enough, Frebble says it all.
We live in a hyper-connected world, and yet sometimes a simple reassuring squeeze of the hand – that shorthand of love and support – is what’s needed most. Frebble makes that possible wherever you and your loved ones may be.
When Frebble is used at the same time as video-chatting, the experience is exponentially improved. You can now see and hear and feel the touch of those you care most about no matter where they are. Frebble users will be able to see which friends are online through the myfrebble.com website.
Designed to fit perfectly in your hand, Frebble provides the tactile sense of holding hands. When one user squeezes the device, the Frebble device on the other end applies pressure to the other user’s hand, simulating the feel of a gentle hold of the hand. Frebble is recharged through a micro-USB cable and currently works with Google Chrome version 24 or higher or Firefox version 16 and higher. Android and iOS apps for smartphones and tablets will also be available by the time it is delivered to Kickstarter supporters.
It features 2 pressure sensors at the front to register squeezing, 2 vibration motors on the side to enhance the haptic experience, 1 squeeze bar integrated in hand enclosure to replicate holding hands, a multicolor LED to indicate connection and communication status, Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0) communication and a rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery.
Frebble will be molded out of impact-resistant plastic with rubberized padded areas for added gripability. It is about 5 inches long and the battery will last for 4 hours of use (much longer on standby), and will be recharged with a micro-USB cable.
Frederic Petrignani - Co-founder, CEO
Passionate entrepreneur, obsessed with extending the human sense of touch across space and time.
Johny Gorissen - Software Engineer
Expert in various programming languages. Helps building the social touch application and platform.
Roel van Deventer - Hardware Development
Born and raised in the Netherlands. Expert in industrial design. Responsible for designing and sourcing the hardware components.
The idea behind Frebble has been around since some years ago when creator Frederic Petrignani was getting his MBA at the Rotterdam School of Management. A bar outing one night with fellow students, many far from home, led to a discussion of how it would be great to be able to hug or hold hands with loved ones across the internet.
What could have been a throwaway comment lit a spark for Frederic and his passion and commitment for finding a solution to that problem began.
Ultimately he founded Holland Haptics in 2012 to design and develop 'tactile feedback' - or haptic - devices. (Haptic is from the Greek word for touch.) After kicking around a few other ideas, Frederic and his team settled on the current design and began working to professionalize the early concept.
We already have functioning prototypes and have tested Frebbles with a number of users. Through this research we have found that users find it really entertaining as a livelier added dimension to video calling.
The design is finalized, and components have already been selected. Kickstarter funding will be used to pay for the manufacture of the first production run, from which backers will receive their products.
We have a shortlist of initial manufacturers and expect to make the selection soon. Our goal is to have the final CAD drawings ready by November 2014. From that moment, it will be another 10 weeks or so for production of the entire Kickstarter batch to kick off.
The team is so excited about Frebble that they've already begun planning improvements and additions for later generation products!
The Power of Touch
There is a wealth of research showing that physical touch has a wide range of physical and emotional benefits. When people are deprived of touch for long periods of time, it can cause anxiety and depression.
Some of the benefits of touch include:
- Alleviating loneliness and creating a sense of connectedness.
- Relieving tension and helping with relaxation.
- Helping to relieve pain or to alter the perception of pain.
- Helping to manage stress.
- Bringing a sense of well-being.
Touch is even more important for a child’s development. It is a critical component for building healthy attachments to parents and other caregivers. Touch often communicates more than words – such positive emotions as love, gratitude and sympathy can all be communicated with touch, and children who learn to share these emotions are more likely to be cooperative in their interactions with others.
Risks and challenges
All components in the Frebble have been chosen, and the selection of the manufacturing, assembly and handling supplier is nearly done. The delivery date estimate is based on the information the supplier of choice has provided us so far.
However with any big project such as Frebble, there are always challenges to be overcome. There are the known complexities of manufacturing and delivery, especially when done on separate continents, as well as unexpected events that may come up. In the case an issue does arise, we will do our utmost to minimize the impact on you, our backers, and we are committed to keeping you informed about our progress every step of the way in the months following the successful campaign.
You will be among the first in the world to 'hold hands' with a loved one at a distance, and we look forward to receiving your feedback on the experience!
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