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. A photo of Andrew Field, the owner of Rockaway Taco, looking out from his store in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York.
    Life

    Tacos and Transit: Rate Your City

    From taco-rich San Diego to the tortilla wastelands of Boston, we asked you to grade U.S. cities on two critical metrics: Mexican food and public transportation.

  2. A photo of shoppers in the central textile market of downtown Jakarta.
    Design

    How Cities Design Themselves

    Urban planner Alain Bertaud’s new book, Order Without Design, argues that cities are really shaped by market forces, not visionaries.

  3. A photo of a man sitting on a bench in East Baltimore.
    Equity

    Why Is It Legal for Landlords to Refuse Section 8 Renters?

    San Jose and Baltimore are considering bills to prevent landlords from rejecting tenants based on whether they are receiving federal housing aid. Why is that necessary?

  4. The opulent anteroom to a ladies' restroom at the Ohio Theatre, a 1928 movie palace in Columbus, Ohio.
    Design

    The Glamorous, Sexist History of the Women’s Restroom Lounge

    Separate areas with sofas, vanities, and even writing tables used to put the “rest” in women’s restrooms. Why were these spaces built, and why did they vanish?

  5. Montreal skyline from top of Mount Royal on a fall afternoon
    Equity

    Reading Between The Lines of Montreal’s ‘Cheap’ Rents

    Compared to Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal’s real estate market looks enviable—but its rents are shaped by factors other cities can’t replicate.