When you first signed up to Facebook, did you ever envisage that it might automate the physical actions of your clothing? Nope, me neither. But that hasn’t stopped MIT student Melissa Kit Chow from designing a jacket that gives the wearer a ‘hug’ when their Facebook content is Liked by another user of the social network.
The ‘Like-A-Hug’ jacket inflates whenever the wearer’s mobile phone sends a signal to the garment after someone has Liked a page, status update, comment, photo etc on Facebook. The inflation will gently increase the pressure felt by the wearer, creating a similar sensation to that of being hugged. This is undoubtedly all very clever stuff, but you might well be asking why someone would do this?
Chow explained the motivation behind Like-A-Hug:
“The project was done as an exercise and exploration in shape display. 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).”
I think it’s a really fun concept, but I’m not so sure of how it work in practice. Obviously the thing functions as intended, but can you imagine how unpopular you’d be when you’re on a jam-packed tube train and suddenly your jacket inflates…? I’ll put this one in the “that’s cool, but not for me” pile.