National Hug Day: 10 geeky hugs, from emoji to astronauts (pictures)
Give a hug emoji
National Hug Day is on January 21 every year. It was first celebrated in 1986, but has now become a minor holiday celebrated over social media. The idea is to encourage people to hug friends and family, but you don't have to make human contact to celebrate. Enjoy these geeky hugs from space, hugs from high-tech clothing and even a hug for your cell phone.
Apple released a slew of new emojis in October. One of the emojis is a hug depicted by a yellow smiley face with two hands held with palms out. It can be a little confusing. Some people may interpret it as "jazz hands" or a sign of happy surrender. It's really just supposed to be a pleasant hug.
A snake that can hug you back
Everybody wants to hug a snake. Right? Right? Of course you do. If you had lived 110 million years ago, you might have been able to hug a snake that could squeeze you back with its adorable tiny legs. Researchers discovered a snake fossil sporting four more limbs than we're used to seeing on the slithery creatures. That would make for quite the embrace.
Please hug me, Hug Me Coat
The Hug Me Coat is an unusual fashion accessory. It's a green puffer coat with a stacked-up set of arms appearing to come out of the front, hands clasped in an embrace down your midsection. The coat's aim is to be warm, friendly and loving, but it would certainly turn heads if you wore it in public.
Dog hugs for an astronaut
NASA astronaut Leland Melvin likes space, but he also really loves his dogs. Melvin's pups joined him for an official NASA portrait session and behaved themselves for a while, but eventually jumped up to deliver some doggy hugs and kisses to the smiling astronaut. Melvin flew missions on the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2008 and 2009.
Cuddle with your fandom
It's National Hug Day. Have you hugged your favorite droid yet?
Few things are more comforting than a giant, oversize, soft representation of your favorite fandom. Take this life-size plush BB-8 from ThinkGeek for example. It's a quick and satisfying way to wrap your arms around the entire Star Wars universe and squeeze it with a passion born from a love of sci-fi adventures.
Turn Facebook likes into physical hugs
Facebook can seem so impersonal sometimes since you're separated from actual human contact by a computer screen. The Like-A-Hug vest was created to generate some physical interaction from social media. The vest inflates every time someone likes one of your posts on Facebook. It gives you the sensation of a hug through a gentle squeeze, tying Facebook back into the real world.
Haptic hug vest
The Like-a-Hug vest isn't the only high-tech item built to tie the virtual world into the real world. The HaptiHug vest came out of Japan in 2010. The vest applies a gentle pressure to your chest and back. It decides to hug you based on software that determines the emotional intent of written texts. This would work really well with Apple's "jazz hands" hug emoji.
Cuddlr app is now Spoonr
The Cuddlr app snuggled up to the mobile world in 2014 by offering strangers a way to meet up for cuddles, like a platonic form of Tinder. It helps connect you to other app users near your physical location. You can then decide if you want to share a hug. The app has since changed its name to Spoonr, but it still has the same basic concept of social meet-ups for cuddles.
Hugging, floating astronauts
Somebody could probably write an entire history of hugs in space, but we'll settle for this sweet moment from 2011 when astronauts from the Space Shuttle Atlantis bid farewell to the crew of the International Space Station. It was NASA's final shuttle resupply mission to the ISS. NASA TV broadcast the goodbyes, including this round of floating hugs.
Give your phone a hug
There have been some unusual cell phone holders (I'm looking at you, selfie sticks) in our high-tech world. Few are as goofy as the Big Hug Adhesive Cell Phone Holder. The oddball accessory came out in 2008 and extended its big pink/purple hands to the world, waiting for a phone to embrace. Practical? Not really. Absurd? Pretty much. Huggy? Definitely.