I'm not sure technology will ever truly succeed in delivering remote hugs, kisses from across the world, and sweet caresses to the face and wiener, but it's sure as shucks gonna keep trying. One of several tech-savvy firms on the hunt to translate touch to 0s and 1s: new media art and design group Pangenerator. They're developing the TACTILU, a pair of bracelets that transmit tactile sensations between the linked individuals wearing them, even when wearers are miles apart. (Pictures TACTILUs reflect the modules' alpha stage; future versions will be at least 50% slimmer and made in casted polyurethane.)
Each TACTILU bracelet is fitted with a touch sensor on its upper side, which accepts swipes and pokes from a sending party, and then converts them to tactile/haptic motion on the complementary lower-side sensor of the receiving party's bracelet. Technologies enabling these actions include quantum tunneling composite (QTC) for the touch/sending sensor and flexinol wire, which exhibits muscle-like behavior, for the delivery/receiving sensor. Smartphone WiFi connections and Bluetooth control data transmission and device communication.
While it could never be a complete substitution for human touch, I'd imagine TACTILU might be a nice reassurance for loved ones separated by work, school, travel, or the slammer. I mean, everyone can use an encouraging or affectionate squeeze, a reminder from someone who cares that they do care, every now and then, right? I vote yes. I vote yes even if the squeeze feels less like an embrace or sloppy wet one than it does a doctor or EMT rooting around to find your radial pulse.