The Like-A-Hug vest, is “wearable social media,” says designer Melissa Chow.
The vest inflates to hug wearers when a friend ‘Likes’ a photo, video, or status update on the wearer’s wall. Hugs can also be sent back to the original sender by squeezing the vest and deflating it, the website says.
Chow worked with Andy Payne and Phil Seaton at the MIT Media Lab to build the black puffer vests.
“The project was done as an exercise and exploration in shape display,” Chow’s website states. “We came up with the concept over a casual conversation about long-distance relationships and the limitations of video chat interfaces like Skype.
“The concept of telepresence arose, and we toyed with the idea of receiving hugs via wireless technology. The result was Like-A-Hug. Connecting it to Facebook conceptually was simply a way to explore how social media might push past the traditional graphic user interface (GUI).”
The Like-A-Hug vest may be new, but the idea is not, according to news reports.
Robot buff Hiroshi Ishiguro launched the Hugvie in April. The body pillow provides physical sensation during phone calls.
The Hugvie, designed to resemble a human form, has a pocket into which the user slips their Smartphone. A microcontroller and vibrators inside the pillow match the characteristics of the caller’s voice.
In May, a Brazilian fashion retailer added a digital Facebook “Like” counter to wooden hangers, to exhibit the number of Likes each item received via photos on the store’s Facebook brand page.
So far, no pricing or ordering details for the Like-A-Hug vest have been advertised.