JUST AS YOU THOUGHT that Facebook couldn't get any more creepy and intrusive, it can now hug you in the street, thanks to a jacket connected to the website that hugs you when you receive a "Like" on your profile.
Developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the "Like-A-Hug" jacket is shown off at the website of a designer named Melissa Kit Chow, touted as "wearable social media".
"The vest inflates when friends 'Like' a photo, video, or status update on the wearer's wall, thereby allowing us to feel the warmth, encouragement, support, or love that we feel when we receive hugs," Chow's website explains. "Hugs can also be sent back to the original sender by squeezing the vest and deflating it."
Chow said she came up with the concept over a 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," she said. "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)."
For now the jacket is merely a prototype, and we don't see it taking off anytime soon, given that you would probably look very odd and attract the wrong sort of attention wearing a coat that inflates and deflates spontaneously when going about your everyday business. µ