HUG by LAUGH: a sensory product for dementia care

by Jac Fennell in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

HUG by LAUGH: a sensory product for dementia care


raised so far



HUG is a cuddly sensory therapeutic product with a heartbeat for people affected by dementia. This Crowdfunder will help bring HUG to market

by Jac Fennell in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Overwhelmed with the support for HUG, we have increased our stretch target to £20,000! With £20,000 we can do so much more...

With the extra money we will be able to develop a bespoke, custom electronics module for HUG.  

We will also sponsor another 5 HUGs which will be given, free of charge, to 5 people desperately in need of a HUG who have been recommended to us by Alzheimer's Society. These 5 sponsored HUGs will be in addition to the 5 HUGs we are sponsoring as a result of hitting the £15,000 target. 

Will you pledge to help us get to £20,000 and ensure 10 additional sponsored HUGs get to people who really need them? Don't forget you can also buy your own HUG as a reward!




Stretch target of £15,000 achieved 21st September 2020 :)

This is what we said we would do when we hit our £15,000 stretch target...

Although we have raised enough to bring a first-edition HUG to market, personalised music is what really brings HUG to life. An additional £5000 will allow us to explore bluetooth music functionality for HUG, ensuring that HUG can be truly personalised and adapted to suit changing environments.

If we hit our stretch target, we will also sponsor 5 HUGs which will be given, free of charge, to 5 people desperately in need of a HUG who have been recommended to us by Alzheimer's Society.

Everybody needs a HUG!

HUG™ is a playful, interactive therapeutic comforter designed to be cuddled by people living with advanced dementia and those affected by social isolation or living with mental health challenges. It provides the calming sensation of giving and receiving a hug and has been shown to soothe, comfort and reduce anxiety. HUG™ contains electronics that provide a simulated beating heart and the option to play a personalised playlist of music. It has a soft rounded shape to allow people with advanced dementia to sit comfortably upright whilst supported by HUG™.  HUG™ was designed with the help of carers, health professionals, technologists and people living with dementia and advice from Alzheimer’s Society.


The first HUG™ prototype had a profound beneficial impact on the person for whom it was designed. The evaluation evidenced positive outcomes for her health and wellbeing that, according to her professional carers and family, could only be attributed to using HUG™. She had no further falls, began to socialise with others and spoke again, her eating improved as did her general health. Despite being on end of life care, she lived happily for a further 9 months after she was given HUG™. 


HUG™ on the TV

HUG™ has been the feature of a short film, produced by the BBC. Reporter Colette Hume has been following the development of HUG™. The film shares this journey and the story of Margaret, a resident of Sunrise of Cardiff, and her daughter Alison. 

Watch the BBC film of HUG™ here

HUG™ awards

HUG™ is a finalist in the 2020 Tech4Good Awards in the Digital Health category. In 2018 HUG™ was a finalist for the UK Dementia Care Awards for Outstanding Dementia Product of the year. HUG™ was subsequently awarded funding from Welsh Government SMART Expertise (ERDF) to evaluate HUG™ in a research trial with the NHS and care home company Sunrise Senior Living. Early results indicate significant benefits to individual wellbeing. 


Meet the HUG™ team

HUG™ was designed by the LAUGH design team: Cathy Treadaway, Jac Fennell and Aidan Taylor. They have formed a spin-out company 'HUG by LAUGH' ( Cathy and Jac are both experienced product designers and Aidan is an electronics engineer. Their aim is to design a better world using Compassionate Design methods to inform their work.



HUG™ is based on 5 years of academic research into design for dementia by the LAUGH team led by Professor Cathy Treadaway at Cardiff Metropolitan University. This research was funded by AHRC and Welsh Government SMART Expertise ERDF. Further information about the research and publications can be found here  



Crowdfunding to bring HUG™ to market

We will use the money raised through crowdfunding to pay for the first manufacturing run of HUG™. This will make HUG™ available to those who desperately want to buy it.

HUG™ has the potential to improve the quality of life of very many people living with dementia, anxiety and depression. Never has there been such an urgent need for a product that can bring the comfort of a hug to people. 

Please support us by donating to make this possible.


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