Every once in a while, we all could use a hug — even if that hug isn't, technically, from a human. Hell, we even invent apps for the sole purpose of giving people "hugs" without, you know... actually giving them a hug. Well guess what: now there's a new way to get a hug from a robot without burdening your friends and loved ones by asking for real human touch! This wooden and metal machine will give you a real hug without all of the messy emotions and complications that come with interacting with a human being.
It is, of course, not a real machine that you can buy in a store, but a piece of art called "Mechanics of Hugging" by the Finnish artist Petri Eskelinen. Apparently, it works as a kind of instructional device. "The work teaches how to hug without an other person," Eskelinen writes on his website. "The viewer must trust the construction and lean on it, then he/she is able to reach the handles. The viewer can turn these handles as if he/she would be hugging someone. The mechanism will in turn hug the viewer in the same way with the mechanical arms which have three turning points."
Don't worry, if it seems too complicated, or if your hugging technique is a little lackluster — apparently, an instructional video is included with the sculpture.
Take a look at these people who are trying the device for the first time:
It looks like a goofy experience that somehow doesn't quite simulate, for instance, the oxytocin rush of a real hug. Still, hug beggars can't be hug choosers, you know? Also, maybe hugging our machines will keep them from rising up against us like in Terminator, or something like that.
This isn't the only unusual, wood and metal mechanism Eskelinen has come up with. I like this wearable device, which makes the user only able to see things from the feet down, along with this strange model of an ocean complete with "tides," shifting light, and the sound of a rocking boat. But for the sake of future generations of teenagers, I hope the next machine Eskelinen makes teaches how to French kiss.