Section: Barbara Adams
Headline: A Vest That Hugs You When You Get Social Media Love
“At what point does tangible media become uncomfortable for users?” – that was the central question behind the project created by Melissa Chow and her collaborators from the MIT Media Lab. Offering physical contact through a digital medium – their ‘Like-a-Hug’ vest inflates to simulate the feeling of a hug when a person receives a ‘like’ on Facebook – it is meant to be a kind of a wearable extension to one’s social media existence. Bringing to the extreme Jameson’s idea of objects as instruments of communication, Chow’s is definitely trying to push the existing boundaries, ‘both technologically and in terms of social acceptance.’ But what is the project really about? Is it a commentary on our attachment to social media or is it a presage of a near future where technology and Internet are getting too close to our physical reality?
Primary Design Lens: Product Design and Technology
Secondary Design Lens: Tangible User Experience