Imogen McIntyre Hugg - Sensory Hat
Tauira / StudentImogen McIntyre
Kaiako / LecturersLuke Feast, Kei Hoshi
SchoolAUT Art + Design
Hugg takes an empathetic and considerate approach to helping young children with sensory processing conditions. There is beauty in creating a support tool that has personality and stands out in a good way, while simultaneously providing multiple sensory support options. The judges loved the selection of carefully crafted tools that allow users to independently filter their senses and regain control. The careful consideration of materials and aesthetics results in a design that replaces negative stigma with appeal and joy.
Episodes of sensory overload are stressful and overwhelming for children and their parents to experience. Sensory overload occurs when a person is overstimulated by their surrounding environment. This is especially challenging for children to navigate as they are usually yet to build solid strategies that help them manage and healthily react to their feelings.
The aim of this design was to create a child-friendly product that discreetly caters to sensory needs, conveys personality and allows children to stimulate and filter their senses in a healthy way to then establish healthy coping mechanisms that they can carry on. Hugg is primarily made with breathable organic cotton and stainless steel hardware. The hat is weighted with stainless steel beads and sound dampened with removable polyurethane foam pads. An under chin buckle helps keep the hat on and unwanted sounds out. The chewable attachment is made from maple timber and sealed with food safe Walrus Oil. Stimulation attachments on both sides can be tucked away into the pockets at the ends of both “ears” and also easily removed for cleaning and swapping out by simply unbuttoning the snaps.
Anyone can experience sensory overload, especially in times of high stress. Hugg allows for children to re-centre themselves mentally so that they can navigate sensory overload with more ease.