Computational creativity and the future of AI

"Like-A-Hug" concept makes Facebook warm and cuddly


October 8, 2012

Like-A-Hug was created by Melissa Kit Chow, in collaboration with Andy Payne and Phil Seat...

Like-A-Hug was created by Melissa Kit Chow, in collaboration with Andy Payne and Phil Seaton at MIT’s Media Lab (Photo: Melissa Kit Chow)

The internet allows us to communicate more easily than ever, but however many Facebook friends you have, there’s no substitute for a real hug – or at least there wasn’t until recently. Like-A-Hug is a concept social media vest which reacts to Facebook "likes" and posts on your wall, inflating to give you a “hug” on every such interaction. Wearers of the vest can embrace themselves in order to cause another person sporting a Like-A-Hug vest to get a hug, too.

Created by Melissa Kit Chow, in collaboration with Andy Payne and Phil Seaton at MIT’s Media Lab research laboratory, the Like-A-Hug project came about following a conversation between the trio concerning long distance relationships and the limitations of video chat interfaces like Skype, which do not offer any touch feedback during conversations.

Chow and her team aren’t the first to pick up on this issue, but unlike the decidedly NSFW Teledildonics system, the designers kept things platonic, and Like-A-Hug exists happily alongside similar products, such as the HaptiHug and, to a lesser extent, the Squeeze Vest.

The finer details of exactly how Like-A-Hug would work aren’t offered, and presumably there would need to be some kind of safeguard built-in to prevent social butterflies from being squeezed into unconsciousness, but such issues could surely be worked out in development.

While it’s easy to scoff at Like-A-Hug and similar products, they do appear to hint at an emerging trend toward bringing an element of touch into long-distance communications, and it wouldn’t be too surprising if we saw some similar implementation of this technology become more widespread in the future.

The promo video below envisions a brave new world in which Like-A-Hug devotees are everywhere, and two people interact using the device.

Source: Melissa Kit Chow via AllThingsD

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road.

  All articles by Adam Williams

This product is about as sorry as it gets. I pity the inventor.

8th October, 2012 @ 11:24 am PDT

Call me cynical, but I only like this idea if an overload of likes to any post about the recent purchase of this vest, causes the vest to overinflate, punishing the wearer.

Tony Smale
8th October, 2012 @ 12:26 pm PDT

some day we will stop jacking around with stupid toys and get around to solving the problems of the world

Artie Gadgeteer
9th October, 2012 @ 09:25 am PDT

so many haters. you guys need a hug.

Facebook User
28th August, 2013 @ 12:04 am PDT
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