April 27, 2005
The Hug Shirt
Soft Technological Sandwiches
F+R Hugs is a soft Lycra shirt with embedded sensors and electronics that allows to feel the physical closeness of a distant loved one, bringing the sensation of a hug. The system works through a mobile phone network. The shirts receive the input of heart beat, touch and body temperature of the remote loved one, recreating (through actuators embedded in the shirt) over distance the pulsation, physical pressure, and warmth of a real hug.
During the testing of the shirts, major intensity points were identified on upper arms, on the upper back part during a condolatory hug, around the waistline, neck, shoulders, and hips. In these strategic spots were placed soft technological sandwiches containing the hugging output actuators. Designed by Francesca Rosella - Ryan Genz, Cutecircuit; other works by Cutecircuits: Kinetic and cameleon garments. [blogged by Regine on near near future]
Posted by jo at April 27, 2005 08:09 AM
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 18:48:01 +1000
Subject: [-empyre-] Experience with connecting people via a "hug over a distance"
I've been asked to report a bit on my experience with the "Hug Over a Distance" vest, developed at Uni of Melb, under the Smart Internet CRC, together with Frank Vetere, Martin Gibbs, Jesper Kjeldskov, Sonja Pedell and Steve Howard:
We were aiming to facilitating an increased connectedness between couples that are geographically apart, and through user observations, came up with a vest that can give you a hug, triggered by your remote loved one. Look at the video: http://www.floydmueller.com/portfolio/hug_over_a_distance.htm
The compressor used to inflate the air compartments in the vest is actually from K-mart, used in trucks for their air horns, and is quite loud, but powerful. The previous compressor I took from an aquarium, which was silent, but not powerful enough, i.e. the vest took too long to inflate, that's why I replaced it with the air horn compressor.
I knew the noise would have been an issue, that's why I experiemented with CO2 cylinders, taken from professional cyclists. However, this modification wasn't ready for the focus group meetings.
The couples we showed it to loved the idea, and there was quite some laughing going on. However, they did not want to take it into their daily lives to test it out, saying the noise was too weired. Although it was mentioned that this was only a prototype, and they should imagine it without the noise, they still could not abstract from it, and did not feel comfortable with it.
So as a researcher, I learned that although it seemed easy to look at the vest and the hug, and ignore the noise for now, the noise was the main reason why the couples felt ackward about the experience. Makes sense now, but at that point, we were more concerned about making sure the vest looks stylish, because we thought the subjects could abstract from it, ignoring the noise, but that was what seemed to come up over and over. Although the CO2 cylinders were low priority (because they would not have changed the characteristics of the hug), I should have put more emphasis on them.
That's my experience with testing it with people, Floyd
Date: Mon, 08 Aug 2005 10:11:13 -0500 (CDT)
From: Patrick Lichty email@example.com
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Experience with connecting people via a "hug over a distance"
To: soft_skinned_space firstname.lastname@example.org
I realize that this is a technical response, but have you thought of muscle wire. Yes, it does get hot, but you could insulate for that, and it could have the benefit of creating warmth in the hug. It takes electricity (simplifying interfacing, and has a relatively low latency time (surely less than the air transfer), and it's silent.
Just an idea.
- P. Lichty
Posted by: Jo at August 10, 2005 09:15 AM