Reach out and virtually touch someone using a wearable vibrating sleeve

Nope, not what you think. Stanford University graduate student Millie Salvato and colleagues developed a wearable sleeve outfitted with multiple small vibrators to convey various kinds of "social touches" from a distance. Very reminiscent of UC Berkeley professor Eric Paulos's pioneering Connexus work from 2002! From Scientific American:

Salvato and her team measured how 37 participants expressed social information in different situations. In each test, one person wore a pressure-sensing device on an arm, and another touched it to respond to scenarios involving six intended meanings: attention seeking, gratitude, happiness, calming, love and sadness.

After collecting 661 touch movements—squeezes, strokes, shakes, pokes, and the like—Salvato and her colleagues mapped the location and pressure of each. Next, they used a machine-learning algorithm to select the movements that were most reliably part of each response. Finally, they programmed a wearable sleeve to simulate these movements using eight embedded disks that vibrate when electronically signaled.