Wearable touch

The world’s first haptic telecommunication wearable invented by CuteCircuit in 2002 and awarded as one of the Best Inventions of the Year by Time Magazine in 2006.

The Hug Shirt™ is a shirt that makes people send hugs over distance! Embedded in the Hug Shirt™ there are sensors that capture the strength, duration, and location of the touch, the skin warmth and the heartbeat rate of the sender and actuators that recreate the sensation of touch, warmth and emotion of the hug to the Hug Shirt™ of the distant loved one.

The style of the HugShirt changed over the years to become more streamlined. This HugShirt from 2014 featured round sensor areas similar to the original 2002 design but in a cutting edge digital print design.

The Hug Shirt™ connects Bluetooth to any smartphone thanks to the HugShirt App and records a hug like you would record a movie and delivers the data to your mobile via Bluetooth and through the App your hug is transmitted over the network to your friend’s phone and it is seamlessly transmitted via Bluetooth to their Hug Shirt™!

Sending hugs is as easy as sending a text message or chatting, and you are able to send hugs while you are on the move, in the same way and to the same places you are able to make phone calls (Rome to Tokyo or New York to Paris).

The system is very simple: a Hug Shirt™ (Bluetooth with sensors and actuators), a Bluetooth enabled smartphone with the Hug Shirt™ App running (it understands what the sensors are communicating), and on the other side another smartphone and another Hug Shirt™. If you do not have a Hug Shirt™ but know that your friend has one you can still send them a hug creating it with the Hug Shirt™ software and it will be delivered to your friend’s Hug Shirt™ in real time!

The new Hug Shirt™ was presented during the CuteCircuit fashion show at New York Fashion Week. We continue to evolve the HugShirt and create new designs every season. To see the latest embodiment of the HugShirt you can also check the SoundShirt product page and discover how haptics allow a deaf person to feel music on their skin.

Hug Shirt FAQ

Do we want to replace human contact?

No, the Hug Shirt is not meant to replace human contact, but to make you happy if you are away for business or other reasons and you miss your friends and loved ones. It also has some very interesting applications in the medical field with the elderly and children. And it is fun to use and very soft.

Interfaces and systems must be intuitive, natural, and compatible with our emotional state. Combining emotion and technology should be part of every design process. An increasing mobility of humans throughout the globe, due to business or study reasons, has brought family members to spend most of their time apart from each other.

How did we design the HugShirt?

The digitally printed concentric circle areas on the HugShirt indicate the position of the sensors and actuators, we defined these areas during “body storming” sessions (a very physical way to go about brainstorming). We asked people to hug each other for a very long time and we mapped the position of their hands on the other person’s body. The areas that people touch the most are the exact location of the sensor areas.

The Science behind touch

Humans need physical contact with each other and digital technology should allow for a pleasant Human-Human Interaction.

Adults, such as busy travellers and elderly people living far away from their families, deprived of tactile contact for a long period of time will tell you just how depressing it feels. A hug, a handshake, a pat on the back, and a kiss are all very important and bring us close to others.

People need to be touched at least 70 times a day! Start noticing how many times you shake hands or hug a friend, and you will see that it really makes you feel good, and if you didn’t get enough hugs give us a call and come visit!

Soft and comfortable microfibre with digitally printed decoration that highlights the sensor areas, buy your HugShirt today.

Quick facts

  • Invented in 2002
  • Awarded 1st Prize at Cyberart Bilbao Conference in 2004
  • Awarded as one of the Best inventions of the Year by Time Magazine in 2006
  • Awarded the UKTI Mobile World Congress Showcase in 2009
  • Bluetooth Low Energy, connects to your smartphone via the HugShirt App
  • Rechargeable and washable
  • Sensors capture the touch and actuators within the fabric recreate it over distance
  • Touch Telecommunication on the move!
  • The fabrics used in the HugShirt are Oeko-Tex certified and Made in Italy
  • There are no wires inside the HugShirt!