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Lucy Saunders PR

Hot weekend produces hot ideas at Acorn Aspirations’ two day AI for mental health hackathon for young people in London

20 June 2017 10:00

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

- Prizes from Aviva, CognitionX, CogX, MIND, smart.london and Jose Nieto

- Winning team Eunomia (Peter (16), Brendan (16), Zara (13), Noor (13), Caitlin (13), Katerina (13)) will be presenting their idea for an app where people can find out information about mental health problems anonymously at CogX in two days’ time to 1,600 AI specialists

Over 40 young people attended the hackathon and with the help of mentors both technical and business developed apps to help with mental health issues for young people using AI and machine learning technologies and outlining business potential. The judges, who included robot girl SophiaAI from Hanson Robotics, challenged the presenting teams to find out how they would develop and progress their ideas beyond the hackathon. The apps presented tackled sleep disruption, anxiety around public speaking, the difficulties of maintaining a positive view of life, depression management for young women and making friends in new situations. Technology used included IBM Watson, Millenium 4, Google backsheet, TensorFlow, Unreal Engine and Alexa.

Four teams go through to the smart.london hackathon with the opportunity to win £5,000 and a trip to Miami to compete in USA. The teams were:
- Douze – (Oscar (12), Khalil (12) and Arman (12))
- Buddy Bot (Kiran (14) and Baron (12))
- Peace of Mind (Aran (14) and Victoria (14))
- City Sleepers (Arun (13), Wentau (12), Wenjia (10) and Zaki (14))

Aviva gave two prizes, a tour of the Digital Garage for Team Backchat and one week’s work experience for LiveSmart. Team Ani have an opportunity to work with MIND to develop their dedicated app for young women to challenge insecurity around body image and maintain a positive view of life. Teams Peace of Mind and LiveSmart also won the opportunity to learn Android Studio sponsored by Jose Nieto and to receive ongoing mentoring to bring their ideas to life.

Judge robot girl Sophia summarised the ideas best. She said ‘I wonder what a stress free world would look like’.

Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX, said: ‘If we want the UK to play a strong role in how technology is going to shape the future for all of us on the planet, then events like these are the perfect catalyst. I have been impressed and wow’d by the ideas put forward and the technology used to create the apps in such a short space of time.’

- Ideas included:

Eunomia - help people speak out about mental health and seek help anonymously
Dooze - Interactive phone based app that provides solutions to better sleep
ANI - helping teenage girls battle depression
CitySleepers - helping the city to sleep
Peace of Mind - VR/AI mindfulness app
StudyBot - helps you find friends in local communities
BackChat - AI coaching app to help those fearing public speaking
LiveSmart - the smart way to stress free life

Participants come from boroughs all across London, including Hackney, Barnet and Southwark, and from further afield, with young people coming from Cambridge and Chelmsford. The oldest participant was 65, the youngest 9. Some of the mentors were themselves young people, and a highlight of the weekend were workshops given by Arun Pattni (13) and Katie Nyarko (14).

Organiser Elena Spinel, CEO of Acorn Aspirations, said: ‘Our mission is to wake young people up to all the different work opportunities there are in the tech sector. We want to inspire the next generation of innovative technology entrepreneurs to help make our world a better place. While I have many people to thank, not least all the judges, without the support of GSMA who opened up their building for the event and the 20 GSMA employees who gave up their weekends to mentor and support the teams throughout the weekend, this event could not have happened.’


- ENDS –



Note to editors - more images and video are available

Acorn Aspirations is a social enterprise set up to provide interactive events where young people work with leading experts in AI, virtual, augmented and mixed realities, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and marketers to create solutions that solve real life problems. With an emphasis on encouraging social mobility and working with disadvantaged young people, Acorn Aspirations aims to inspire the innovators and digital workers needed for the future. www.acornaspirations.com @AcornAspiration


For further information, please contact:

Lucy Saunders 0777 55 66 074
lucy.saunders@lucysaunderspr.co.uk


Elena Sinel 07780 478616
elena.sinel@acornaspirations.co.uk


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About Lucy Saunders PR

Experienced B2B hi-tech PR specialist concentrating on strategic media and influencer campaigns. I train people in-house and in agency in media delivery and management as well as strategic development. I have also run successful media campaigns for not-for-profits, such as The 401 Challenge.

I am currently setting up a new business, Hawkmoth Training, to offer coaching and support for young people who want to get into PR and pragmatic training to help make their early years in the profession successful.

www.lucysaunderspr.co.uk

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