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Informatics students winners in the Maudsley/KCL AppLab competition

Posted on 23/07/2014
App-Lab

The 2014 Maudsley/KCL AppLab competition, supported by the Department of Informatics and the KCL Tech Society, was designed to gather clinicians and developers interested in creating applications to support people with mental health problems.

A large number of participants attended the event. Teams of participants had to give an “elevator pitch”, highlighting the target demographic, how the application would operate and the development lifecycle. The teams had only 6 hours to design innovative ways to create applications that would not only be of assistance, but that would refresh a very under-saturated mental health app-space. The proposals were then judged by a panel of professionals whose knowledge and past experiences allowed them good insight into the feasibility of each idea.

Waleed Khalid and Mwachala Nyambu, two postgraduate students in the Department of Informatics, were each part of a team that produced winning proposals. The first winning proposal was for a motivational platform-agnostic app that allows a person to set themselves a goal and then periodically (at intervals of their choosing) allow themselves to rate their progress to this goal. The idea is that through positive messages and the positive reinforcement of an upward trending graph the patient is supported and motivated to reach his goal. This application could be extended so that the patient’s doctor/medical supervisor can also receive this data and have a generalised view of their patient’s mind-set about their current situation.

The second winning proposal was for an SMS application that uses a dictionary of “problem-words” which may tempt people into their old habits. This would block certain messages, certain people and specifically certain phrases. This application would be supported through additional in app guides that help the recovering patient and their medical professional to block the problem associates through the phone’s already built in features.

 

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