About Us

Meet the team behind HUG

HUG by LAUGH ltd. is a spin out company from Cardiff Metropolitan University. The founding members are researchers from the LAUGH project and the CARIAD research group. The company is founded on eight years of design research led by Prof Treadaway which is published internationally and is considered world leading in the field of design for advanced dementia. Our value is not only in the HUG product that we have developed, but also the underpinning research and Compassionate Design approach developed by Prof Treadaway.

Dr Jac Fennell

Managing Director

Jac is a Product Designer and Researcher. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and gained real-world industry experience working in the R & D labs for Hewlett-Packard and Philips, and as a design consultant for IDEO and MIT MediaLab.

Prof Cathy Treadaway

Research Director

Cathy is Professor at Cardiff Metropolitan University and lead investigator for the LAUGH research. Prior to her return to academia in 2003, she ran a successful design consultancy for 17 years selling work globally.

Aidan Taylor

Techincal Director

Aidan has a background in creative practice and electronics, and has worked in product development, technical manufacturing and production at Model Electronics. He has a long affiliation with ‘Maker Movement’ and community arts initiatives.

The research behind HUG

HUG has been developed from academic research undertaken at Cardiff Metropolitan University, led by our research director Cathy Treadaway. Knowledge gained from the LAUGH (2015 - 2018) and LAUGH EMPOWERED (2018 - 2020) projects have helped us to create, develop and evaluate HUG.

We have collaborated with people living with dementia and their families as well as professional carers, to create and evaluate the HUG design. We have worked closely with over 70 organisations, including Alzheimer's Society and the NHS, to develop HUG as an award-winning product. This helps ensure HUG is appropriate, useful and safe to use at home, in residential care and in hospital.

Compassionate design approach

Our design process is guided by Compassionate Design that ensures that loving kindness and the needs of the user, are kept at the heart of all we do.

You can read more about Compassionate Design and the research journey that led to HUG's development in 'Compassionate Design: a toolkit for designers'. We have written over 40 published articles about our research and many of them can be accessed and downloaded for free. Our research has also been published in a number of edited books on wellbeing and design.

We use technology in our products to extend their sensory properties. We know that music can provide special magic, transporting a person back to special moments in their lives. Aidan Taylor is our Technical Director, and his research continues to develop and refine innovative ways of interacting with our products to bring special moments into every day.

Our future research will focus on developing new sensory products to help people living with cognitive impairment, dementia and those in end-of-life care. Our aim is to bring joy, comfort and pleasure through the designs that we create.