The virtual world always draws parallels between real life and itself. Recently, Facebook launched 'Gifts', a service that lets users send real gifts to loved ones. Now, the Like-A-Hug vest from Melissa Chow, Andy Payne, and Phil Seaton at the MIT Media Lab makes Facebook Likes seem more real. 

When a Facebook friend of someone wearing the Like-A-Hug vest 'Like's a photo, video, or status update on her Wall, the vest inflates giving her a hug-like effect. The wearer can identify the sender, and then respond with a squeeze (a gesture resembling a hug). The effect this creates is likened to the “warmth, encouragement and love” one experiences when hugged. 

Interestingly, the wearer can send back hugs to the sender, and this can be done by squeezing the jacket and deflating it.  

Like = Hug

Like = Hug

Melissa Kit Chow, one of the designers of the project writes, “The project was done as an exercise and exploration in shape display. We came up with the concept over a casual conversation about long-distance relationships and the limitations of video chat interfaces like Skype. The concept of telepresence arose, and we toyed with the idea of receiving hugs via wireless technology. The result was Like-A-Hug. Connecting it to Facebook conceptually was simply a way to explore how social media might push past the traditional graphic user interface (GUI).”

You can see the concept of the Like-A-Hug vest work on Chow’s website. The clipping presents the entire sequence of the wearer moving from receiving the Like (hug) to responding to it. While it is interesting in design, only time will tell the direction in which it is headed. 

Facebook touched the one billion monthly active users (MAU) milestone recently, and it is celebrating this moment in a big way. If you logged have logged in to Facebook recently, chances are that you spotted its first major ad, titled 'The Things That Connect Us'. The new ad is all about things that connect people. By way of this advertisement, Facebook claims to be ‘honouring the tradition’ of connecting people. It explains how everyday objects such as chairs, doorbells, or those such as aeroplanes go about bringing people together. '

The social networking giant is now officially a billion users strong. There are now one billion active monthly users on Facebook, and the California-based company has stated in its fact sheet that it arrived at this milestone last month on September 14 at 12:45 p.m., Pacific Time. 

Facebook has presented some of its key metrics in its fact sheet. Facebook has registered over 1.13 trillion Likes, and made 140.3 billion friend connections. A whopping 219 billion photos have been uploaded on Facebook since its launch. The data for calculating this number was extracted on September 10 this year, and takes into consideration the total number of photos that are on the site currently. It does not factor in deleted or removed photos. If it did, the estimates would go up considerably to 265 billion photos uploaded on Facebook ever. 

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