While hugs are generally thought to offer comfort and acceptance, for those diagnosed with autism, hugs can produce a lot of anxiety. One Israeli father found a way to combat this.
It is common for individuals with autism to have trouble with being touched or socializing, whether it is do to fear or simply not understanding.
This battery-operated vest, called BioHug, was created by Raphael Rembrand, an Israeli engineer with an autistic son. It’s intended to mimic a hug and the comfort this gesture provides.
By applying varying, gentle pressure, the vest offers a relaxing sensation. Rembrand initially tested the product on his son Yankele, who leaves the vest on for fun, not just when he is feeling nervous or agitated.
The development of BioHug was funded by the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist, and has attracted interest from the likes of MIT and Stanford with the hopes of large-scale distribution.
“When my son puts a smile on his face and doesn’t want to take the vest off,” Rembrand says, “it’s a great feeling.”