During the most unwieldy parts of my pregnancies, the only way I could sleep was by spooning a huge plaid pregnancy pillow called something embarrassing like a Snoozle, or a Froogle, or a Foshizzle, or something or other. With me in my comfy flannel PJs, my pillow and I looked like a huge plaid G-clef, and my husband looked left out. Which is simply to say that yes, I know and embrace the wonder of a well-placed body pillow.
But now there is the Funktiontide — or at least there might be, says its designer Stefan Ulrich — and now, remarkably, we may behold something perhaps even more unsettling than the Real Doll. Ulrich says his pillow prototype, which would use advanced robotics and artificial muscle technology to move and change shape depending on how you hold it, is but a polymer harbinger of the day when bleak, alienated humans will turn to “robots” for emotional satisfaction. (Yeah, like I didn’t already do that with my second husband. Folks!) That, or as we see in this technically G-rated, but somehow NSFW video, maybe the Funktiontide is nothing more than a Shmoo with benefits.
While the video’s human co-star appears rather satisfied with his lot, Ulrich is not unaware that his Pillbury Dough-bot raises some juicy issues. “…[T]he the work’s intention is to create a provocative picture for discussion, which enables us to question how much we want technological products to satisfy our emotional needs,” goes his commentary. “The ambiguity of this scenario is, that it could be understood as a solution to a wide range of different kinds of loneliness. But it might as well be understood as a scenario which should be avoided by all means possible.” Speaking as someone who practically sleeps with her iPhone, I’m sure I have no idea what he’s talking about.