An average hug lasts around three seconds, but computers could be programmed one day to make you feel all warm and fuzzy for a lot longer, say scientists.
Sensory equipment enabling people to share a hug across cyberspace has been in development for several years, and experts insist it will one day become part of everyday life.
Advertisement"For a while technology has been driving people apart, locking them in front of computer screens, now we hope to use it to bring them together," the Telegraph quoted Adrian Cheok at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, as telling CNN,
The product he created in 2005 didn't take off but last year scientists based in Japan built a similar product - a wearable robot dubbed 'iFeel_IM!' ("I feel therefore I am").
Created by Dzmitry Tsetserukou at Toyohashi University of Technology, it was designed to add a human-like level of sensation to online conversations.
Using special software it identified emotions expressed within messages and responded by providing the appropriate physical sensation.
He said, "I am looking to create a deep immersive experience, not just a vibration in your shirt triggered by an SMS. Emotion is what gives communication life.
"This is really state of the art, there is nothing this accurate. In a few years, this could be a mobile system integrated into a suit or jacket. It's not that far away."