Hug Shirt

The Hug Shirt was my final project for my creative computing class at Harvard.

If you get a hug while wearing the sweatshirt, a series of LEDs light up, and then deplete after a few minutes signaling that it’s time for another hug.

It’s like a life-meter in video games… and I can assure you it makes for a fun night out.



The shirt is built around an arduino lilypad microprocessor. The challenge of designing on fabric is you can’t cross wires over each other so you have to arrange the chip and sensor with care.

The shirt utilizes a custom pressure sensor which I learned how to make from a friend at the MIT media lab.

A snag point was to adjust the shirt for different types of hugs. I added a calibration feature to the software for this. When you first turn the arduino on, it waits for you to do the first hug to sense the initial pressure. From there on it only recognizes hugs with that same pressure.

Wiring the shirt with the electromagnetic thread was also a big pain and I ended up hiring someone on taskrabbit to finish off the sewing.