The first HUG™ prototype earned far-reaching media interest and press coverage, having been found to have a profound beneficial impact on the patient for whom it was designed.
HUG™ is a playful device with a soft, tactile body and weighted arms that wrap around a person to give the sensation of both giving and receiving a hug, or ‘cwtch’. Electronics replicate a heartbeat, and each HUG™ can be programmed to play a personalised playlist of sounds.
Recent Welsh Government funded research has shown that those people living with dementia who used a HUG™ for six months had an 87% increase in their wellbeing and improved cognitive and functional ability. They also displayed reduced agitation and enhanced social interaction.
Now HUG™ is heading for full-scale production thanks to a new partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society’s Accelerator Programme.
The collaboration marks a huge step in helping the University’s spinout company HUG by LAUGH™ make HUG™s commercially available. This will help improve the quality of life of many more people living with advanced dementia, as well as those affected by social isolation, anxiety and depression.
It marks the culmination of five years of academic research and development by Professor Cathy Treadaway, Dr Jac Fennell and Aidan Taylor from Cardiff Met’s School of Art and Design.
Prototypes of HUG™ have been undergoing trials within the NHS and private care sector with input from carers, health professionals, technologists and people living with dementia. The full results of these trials are due to be published later this year.
The new partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society will run over the next 12 months, providing financial investment in HUG™ to enable the first stage in the manufacturing process.
The charity will also supply advice and expertise to help develop and grow the spinout business, as well as channels of communication directly to people living with dementia and their caregivers.
Crucially, it also gives HUG by LAUGH™ access to Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Dementia Voice’ – a group of people with lived experience of dementia, who will help refine the design of HUG™.
A percentage of profits from the sale of HUG™s will also feed back to the charity, helping to fund further research into dementia.
Visit www.hug.world for more information.
Cardiff Met’s innovation in advanced dementia care, HUG™, has earned primetime media attention on BBC1’s The One Show.
The programme included an interview with Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Chris Maddocks, who is living with dementia, in which she describes how HUG™ is helping her.
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