The device, which is about the size of a throw pillow but as firm as a seat cushion, is shaped like a person about to give a hug, with two arms reaching up and out from a small torso.
To send a hug, the grandchild would squeeze the left paw of her device and speak her grandfather's name into a microphone in the top of the torso. Voice recognition software in the processor in the device identifies the name and matches it to a preset phone number corresponding to the other Hug. The girl's Hug calls the grandfather's, which lights up and plays sounds. To accept the hug, he squeezes the left paw and says hello, opening a direct voice link between the two.
Once the connection is established, the girl squeezes or pats the device. Sensors convert those motions into a data stream that is sent to the other Hug and converted on that end into vibrations through small motors embedded in the device. Thermal fibers around the Hug's belly radiate heat that increases with time. The hug is ended by pressing the right paw and saying goodbye.
If someone is not home to receive a hug, the other person can leave a message that includes voice and vibration patterns. The Hug can store up to four messages.
(See also LoveLump.)