We've come to accept the fact that modern technology is taking large chunks of human interaction away from us.  There's email and voice-mail.  Video-conferencing.  Electronic banking. Now, get ready for a digital handshake.

​It's what the world has been waiting for. A robotic hand that can communicate the grip and warmth of its human user as you video conference, allowing you to "shake hands" with anyone around the world. Engineers at Osaka University say they made the device to "harass their colleagues with a constant stream of formal greetings," although we think they might have chosen the wrong verb. Obviously, a warm robot hand that can be manipulated by someone a world away while you video chat has two purposes: Handshakes and thumb wars.

Useful?  Perhaps.  Novelty?  I'd say.