It’s not the same as physical, human contact, but the new HUG app is an interactive mobile application that sends your loved ones hugs from a distance, anywhere in the world.

The idea came from brothers and former Google employees, Petter and Kaspar Prinz who realized that the most commonly written word via text and chat in 2014 was the emoji of a heart.

The HUG app takes the principle of that emoji and makes it more physical, as physical as a digital communication can be. By placing the phone on your heart, a sensor detects the duration of your hug, and sends it to a recipient as a vibration of the same duration.

The longer you place your phone next to your heart, the longer the HUG will be for the receiver on the other end. You can also pick what “kind” of hug you’d like to send, such as happy, sad, excited and so on—and send it to your huggee.

Hugs have proven to improve many aspects of our health, measurably. It can boost your immune system, reduce stress, lower the risk of certain diseases including heart disease, ease depression, fight infections, and make you happier.

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