Melissa Chow/Vimeo

Say hello to the saddest clothing in the world.

Feast your eyes on this, the saddest little jacket in the world.

Designed by MIT researchers, the Like-A-Hug coat senses when a Facebook friend "likes" your picture of a sweater-wearing cat or wistful update about finding true love. Then, via some complicated electronic mechanism that's not quite clear, it rewards the wearer by filling with air to mimic a "hugging" sensation.

So basically this is an article of clothing that broadcasts the owner's craven need for approval, as well as suggesting his or her crushing failure to attract hugs from flesh-and-blood beings. Why does the world need this artificial snuggle-shell? Explains one of its creators, Melissa Chow:

Like-A-Hug is a wearable social media vest that allows for hugs to be given via Facebook, bringing us closer despite physical distance. 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. Hugs can also be sent back to the original sender by squeezing the vest and deflating it.

The Like-A-Hug gizmo could be a boon for people who can't stand hugging when approaching hands-on associates, just halt at a distance of a couple feet and ask them to log into Facebook. But for everyone else, it's plain silly. A "like" is not good enough for you? You need the sensation of a precious embrace to feel that your two-line status update is appreciated?

If I saw somebody wearing a Like-A-Hug on the street, I would actually go over and lock them in a minute-long bear hug, that's how miserable I'd assume they were.

(Note: This jacket is an update on CuteCircuit's Hug Shirt, which as our own Henry Grabar writes won an award from Time Magazine for best inventions of 2006. Wow.)

(H/t to Ubergizmo.)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An illustration of a private train.
    Transportation

    Let’s Buy a Train

    If you dream of roaming the U.S. in a your own personal train car, you still can. But Amtrak cuts have railcar owners wondering if their days are numbered.

  2. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  3. A photo of the interior of a WeWork co-working office.
    Design

    WeWork Wants to Build the ‘Future of Cities.’ What Does That Mean?

    The co-working startup is hatching plans to deploy data to reimagine urban problems. In the past, it has profiled neighborhoods based on class indicators.

  4. A photo of San Antonio's Latino High Line
    Equity

    A 'Latino High Line' Promises Change for San Antonio

    The San Pedro Creek Culture Park stands to be a transformative project for nearby neighborhoods. To fight displacement, the city is creating a risk mitigation fund.

  5. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.