MIT researchers have invented a jacket that gives users a hug whenever they get a ‘Like’ on Facebook. Next time you’re dreaming up ways to make the users of your apps feel loved and wanted, think a little more wildly. How about giving them an actual hug?
That’s what Melissa Chow and her colleagues Andy Payne and Phil Seaton at MIT have come up with - a jacket that hugs the wearer when one of their friends ‘likes’ one of their posts on Facebook.
The Like-A-Hug vest is described as receiving a signal when a Facebook friend "likes" a post, then fills with air to give the wearer the sensation of being hugged.
Melissa Chow describes the jacket as “a wearable social media vest that allows for hugs to be given via Facebook, bringing us closer despite physical distance … allowing us to feel the warmth, encouragement, support, or love that we feel when we receive hugs”.
You can see it in action in this video:
Hugs can also be sent back to the original sender by squeezing the vest and deflating it and presumably there’s some way of knowing when it’s already hugging you to avoid accidentally hugging you to the point of injury.
I’m not sure they’ve really thought this one through.
For one thing, have they thought of the reaction of passersby when the jacket suddenly starts inflating when you are standing in line at an ATM or waiting for a bus? And what about when you are packed tightly together on a metro train in the rush hour and the hug is shared by four or more other people?
It does widen the whole concept of the user interface though, doesn’t it?