Now, there's long distance hugging dolls on the menu of fill-in intimacy devices.
"Distance Dolls" are a set of rag dolls with built-in wireless technology that allow two people separated by distance to hug "each other." This is how it works: One person hugs their doll, then its counterpart doll gets a signal to "hug" the second person. The doll's arms then move into a hugging position, so the two people separated by miles can feel like they're embracing one another. The longer the first person hugs their doll, the longer the hug lasts on the receiving end.
The doll duo is the brainchild of Brooklyn-based artist Ariel Cotton. Though a patent is still pending, she anticipates her dolls will be available commercially soon.
"Distance Dolls can help fill the emotional void caused by a lack of hugs, whether it's a long distance couple, a child or a parent, or simply a pair of friends," Cotton says in a promotional video. "Distance Dolls will help any two people separated by distance feel connected on a much more intimate level."
What happens if you're not near your doll and miss a hug request? A heart-shaped LED light on the doll's chest will light up to let its owner know he or she has received an embrace.
Hugs, after all, should never have an expiration date.