Our Research

HUG has been developed from academic research led by our Research Director, Professor Cathy Treadaway at Cardiff Metropolitan University. The research was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Welsh Government. Knowledge gained from two research projects: LAUGH (2015-18) and LAUGH EMPOWERED (2018-2020), have helped us to create, develop and evaluate HUG. In 2021 we were awarded Alzheimer’s Society Accelerator funding that enabled us to manufacture HUG to ensure it was widely available for anyone to buy. Our partnership with Alzheimer’s Society means that every HUG we sell contributes to future dementia research and design innovation.

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

Compassionate Design

Our design process is called Compassionate Design. It places loving kindness 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 authored over 50 published articles about our research and many of them are free to access and download. 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 us to special moments in our 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 other conditions. Our aim is to bring joy, comfort and pleasure through the designs we create.

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