"I apologize for posting again so soon, but I forgot to describe my disability, and why I'm physically unable to hug someone. I was born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy called Nemaline Myopathy. My disability affects me in many ways, but in this case, I'm unable to independently raise my arms, wrap them around someone, and have them stay in place. A device I'm seeking would have the ability to suspend my arms in the air, and be able to bring them together. One suggestion was to somehow hook it up to a motor, and operate the device by a remote. Also, when I was a kid, I had a device that was like a sling for my arms. The two slings were attached to two separate metal rods on both sides of me that were able to attach and detach from the back of my wheelchair. Someone would slide my arms into the sleeves, and I was able to bring my arms together, or do various tasks, like typing, with my arms suspended in the sling. I do have the strength to squeeze my arms together, but without assistance, my arms eventually do slide down due to gravity. A device similar to the sling idea would probably be ideal, plus no motor or electronic devices would be needed. I realize that this project could be timely, and possibly expensive, but to me it's worth it. I'd love to be able to give someone that I care about a real hug, and experience another form of intimacy and closeness."
Happy to hear your ideas!
Tetra is a non-profit organization that recruits skilled volunteers to create customized assistive devices for people with physical disabilities. See our instructables group at: http://www.instructables.com/group/tetra/