The Hug Shirt

The Hug Shirt

Clothing plays a vital role in social communication and it can broadcast strong social signaling. The clothes we choose to wear each day influence how others receive us, and the kind of first impression we put out into the world. In this prospect, the wearable computing device can offer new unique opportunities for social engagement by automating emotional and communicative gestures during a social interaction. These devices have the ability to render clothing as a tool of self-expression allowing wearers to reflect their desired emotional responses to the world, which sometimes can be challenging to express, especially for the introverted and more emotionally constipated type of people. By automating some behavioral gestures, these expressive wearables can add a new dimension of behavior and expression in our lives, strengthening the sense of community in our society.


The Hug Shirt was devised on the principle of welcoming, social engagement. The project explores how people can use wearables in a playful approach. The shirt uses a hugging emoji, which is a well recognized and used as a warm signal during the past couple decades. The use of a hugging emoji significantly predisposes the wearer’s action as welcoming and friendly. The open arms gesture reaching in for a hug is activated by the proximity sensor.
The sensor values activate four different states. The first state is an idle state when the sensor receives no input. The second state is activated as the observer comes within a 50-100 cm range, causing the emoji arms to open. The third state is activated when the observer comes within a 10-49 cm range. During this state, the arms’ movements mimic flapping wings, turning the LED on. The red LEDs were used under the cheeks to give a blushing effect.  When the observer comes closer than 10cm the arms go back to its initial state. This final state was designed to clear the way for the observer to come closer and hug the wearer.

Wearable devices have an efficacy to engage people in constructive social interaction. It is on us designers to unravel its untapped potential.


GitHub :


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