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. Design

    The House of the Future Is Elevated

    We can build homes to sit above flood waters so people can ride out the Harveys of the future, but it won’t be easy or cheap.

  2. Equity

    One Nation, Under the Weight of Crushing Debt

    An interactive map shows where the highest concentrations of households with unpaid bills are.

  3. Graffitti artist Anthony Arias works on a mural during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2014.
    Life

    America’s Leading Art Hubs

    Los Angeles has eclipsed New York City, and knowledge hubs like Austin have seen considerable growth in their numbers of working artists.

  4. Townhomes are under construction at Chelsea Place in Tamarac, Florida.
    Lab Report

    Lab Report: Reclaiming Millennials With 'The Missing Middle' Housing

    A morning roundup of the day’s news.

  5. Pittsburgh's Spinning Plate Artist Lofts opened in 1998 with the support of Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
    Equity

    Another Victim of the Tax Bill: Housing for Artists

    A Kansas senator added an amendment to the Senate tax bill that would prohibit developers from using housing tax credits to build artists' housing.