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Life feels better with a HUG™


Hugs really do seem to make a difference, they help us cope better with life, give us comfort and make us feel less anxious.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we need social contact and miss being able to give and receive a hug.


What is HUG™?

HUG™ is an interactive object to cuddle that contains an electronics module that simulates a beating heart and can play music. It provides a physical substitute that seems to fill an important human need.

LAUGH (Ludic Artefacts Using Gesture and Haptics) researchers have developed the award-winning product for people living with advanced dementia. Professor Cathy Treadaway and her team from Cardiff School of Art and Design designed HUG™ for a lady who was on end of life care in a residential care home in Wales. She had become very withdrawn, had frequent falls, and was spending most of her time in bed.


Her carers told the LAUGH team that all she really wanted was a hug and so this was the inspiration for the design. HUG™ made an enormous difference to her wellbeing and led to improvements in her physical health.

She began to talk again, regained her desire to socialise, had no further falls and lived happily for a further 9 months after being given HUG™.

Research has shown that HUG™ improves the quality of life for people living with advanced dementia.

Welsh Government has funded a much larger study LAUGH EMPOWERED: a collaboration with NHS and Sunrise Senior Living Ltd. Findings from this recent research, involving 40 participants in hospital and residential care settings, support the observations from the original LAUGH study.

Watch the short film about HUG™ and the LAUGH research on the BBC News website.

In September 2020 HUG™ won the Tech4Good awards and, in 2018 HUG™ was finalist Outstanding Dementia Product of the year in the UK Dementia Care awards.

You can buy or sponsor a HUG™ for someone living with dementia through the crowdfunding campaign.

You can read more information about HUG™ on the HUG by LAUGH website.

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