Diary app for autism wins 24-hour Deutsche Bank and Autistica Hackathon

Source: Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank and autism research charity Autistica have developed a prototype app to help young people with autism to understand and manage anxiety.

More than 150 of the bank’s technology and design experts competed to build a prototype smartphone app in the hackathon or programming competition. Joining them were young women from the bank’s Student to STEMette programme, technology undergraduates and autistic interns currently working at the bank.

The app draws on a paper-based anxiety toolkit created by King’s College London and funded by Autistica, one of the bank’s UK Charities of the Year (COTY).

A panel of judges from Deutsche Bank, Autistica and King’s College London evaluated 18 prototypes that were designed to fulfil three core functions: to provide information that helps users understand anxiety, offer advice on managing panic attacks and share longer-term strategies for coping with anxiety.

Juliusz Wiatrak, Deutsche Bank technologist and leader of the winning team in the competition, said: “At the core of our new app is an emotion diary that helps users manage their anxiety levels. If a user posts an ‘anxious’ state, the app provides help including a breathing exercise and an option to revisit 'happy moments’ posted earlier in the diary. It also allows users to share their data for research into the mental health of autistic individuals.”

Kim Hammonds, Group Chief Operating Officer of Deutsche Bank, said: “This prototype app is an example of how hackathons can help us change the way we work - how we partner together, solve problems together and leverage diverse skills to make a difference.”

Jon Spiers, Chief Executive of Autistica, said: “What we got back from the hackathon is so much more than we ever imagined: innovative ideas we can take away and workable prototypes that we can share with potential funders. We are overwhelmed with all that has been achieved in 24 hours.”

Deutsche Bank will give all coding created at the hackathon to Autistica, which will seek funding to develop the prototypes further.

Teams from London, Frankfurt, Bangalore, Bucharest, Cary, Pune and St Petersburg competed in the event, which took place on November 9 and 10.

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