App that warns children about dangerous stress levels wins Randox Invent 2016 award
A gaming app that helps children learn how to deal with stress and prevent serious mental health problems has scooped one of Northern Ireland’s most prestigious prizes for innovation during the annual INVENT Awards. Entrepreneur Fintan Connolly, a pharmacist, won the Randox-sponsored Life and Health category for his app which is based on providing real-time biofeedback to players – educating young people and helping them consciously control their emotions.
Following the ceremony last night an emotional Fintan said,
“This is a validation of all I’ve done – it is recognition that you’re on the right path, that what you’re doing is meaningful. I’ve always been fascinated by stress particularly in young children, and I wanted to upskill kids to help them deal with everyday situations. Young people face greater mental health problems today than ever before – the figures are startling and frightening. If they don’t understand the concept of self-regulation – they can’t understand the sense of empowerment. However by showing them in a visual way what is happening inside them, they get it. You use technology to help them because that is their domain.”
As well as sharing the £33,000 prize fund, the Take Ten team now travels to California as part of the NI Tech Mission. TakeTen are due to launch an advanced version of the app next month, which is designed to specifically support children diagnosed with cancer. Early in the New Year, they’ll also begin trials of the app in schools in California.
Randox Chief Scientist John Lamont who was part of the judging panel said,
“We were very proud to sponsor the Life and Health award at Invent 2016. This competition, run by Catalyst Inc, plays a crucial role in supporting the many inspiring innovators across Northern Ireland. We recognise that desire as it was of course the very reason Dr Peter FitzGerald established Randox and why we established our own student and graduate programmes, which had a record intake this year. The judges were blown away by the quality of the ideas we were presented with during Invent 2016, and every one that made it through to the finals of this prestigious competition deserved their place. Fintan’s passion to improve the health of young people was clear from the start and his app has great potential. We look forward to following his journey and wish him the very best in the future.”
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