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F+R Hugs: How to Communicate Physical and Emotional Closeness to a Distant Loved One?

Francesca Rosella

F+R Hugs is a system that allows people to feel the physical closeness of a distant loved one, bringing the pleasant sensation of a real hug to body and mind. It has been designed to satisfy a desire shared by many people: communicate emotions to the distant person we love in a tangible way. F+R Hugs was designed through intensive participatory design sessions, questionnaire, interviews, iterative prototyping and body storming with users, studying people behavior and emotions. It is an input and output device that checks and controls various sensors and actuators through a microprocessor. The sporty shirt receives the input of heart beat, touch and body temperature of the remote loved one, and represents this as output recreating the physical pressure of a hug through inflation and deflation of cushions embedded in the shirt. It works through a mobile phone network and can be activated by SMS messages.

Future applications will be multiple, telecommunication companies can adopt it as mobile communication device, people always on the move will feel the touch of their relatives, children in intensive care will feel the closeness of their parents, fans will be touched by their favorite artist during a concert, many possibilities are imaginable.


wearable computing, emotion, Telecommunication, Haptics, Tele-presence, fashion design, designing desire, User centered design, User Testing