Julia Irwin
Rucha Patwardhan


Hug and be hugged. Remotely.


Introduction to Physical Computing

Remotive is a set of two jackets that allows wearers to send and receive hugs, wirelessly. Each jacket includes both inputs and outputs. Patches on the sleeves will send a hug to the other jacket when the wearer touches them and closes the circuit. When the other jacket receives a hug, a mechanism involving stepper motors turns, causing comfy, stretchy fabric to "hug" the wearer. The hug not only feels comforting but also allows wearers to communicate their affection remotely.

Examples of wearables tend to emphasize either functionality or form. For example, GPS-enabled jackets or shoes that give users directions, bio-feedback enabled wristbands, and bike helmets that play music via bluetooth. Alternatively, fashion designers and artists are incorporating technology and kinetic mechanisms into their pieces. Hussein Chalayan has done some remarkable work embedding sophisticated mechanisms into runway fashion. His dresses transform in size, shape, and style to give personality to each piece of clothing.

Remotive is neither pure function nor pure form, but instead attempts to transverse between the two by incorporating whimsy into purposeful communication. In order to achieve this, we researched human interactions and gestures of affection through extensive user-testing.

Two adventurous adults interested in exploring new experiences and with a desire to hug each other.

User Scenario
- two people who want to hug each other (most effective when they are far away from one another)
- each person puts on the jacket and zips it up
- both people have access to a wireless connection through mobile or wifi

Send and receive hugs:
User1: Misses his girlfriend/friend
User1: Hugs his jacket (to send a hug)
User2: Feels the hug in her jacket (receives the hug)
User2: Hugs her jacket back (sends a hug back)
User1: Feels the hug in his jacket

Jacket1: User1's fingers close the circuit when he hugs his jacket and touches the patches on the upper arm of each sleeve, which serve as a switch. Once the circuit is closed, Jacket1 communicates wirelessly to Jacket2 that a hug has been sent. Also, and LED on the right cuff of Jacket1 blinks, providing feedback that the hug has been sent.

Jacket2: The stepper motor mechanism in the back section of Jacket2 begins to turn in one direction, which causes the stretchy fabric from either side of the mechanism to gather and tighten around the user's torso, simulating a hug. Also, an LED on the left cuff of Jacket2 blinks, providing additional feedback that the hug has been received.

Both jackets have the same inputs and outputs, so each can both send and receive hugs. Also, each jacket has an LED on both the right cuff (send) and left cuff (receive) to provide feedback.

We learned about conductive soft materials and best practices in fabricating and embedding hard materials into them. Also, this project involved intensive study in human interactions in order to simulate them most effectively. While the technology embedded into the jackets is a fundamental element, the real challenge is to have the mechanism accurately and appropriately simulate a hug.

We also managed to fry a stepper motor in the process, while testing different strengths of fabrics to use.