Digital Health Technology Case Study: Brain in Hand

Independent lives for those with autism, supported by Exeter tech firm

Providing the confidence for those with autism and mental health problems to fulfil their lives, from going to university to entering the workplace, was the challenge taken on by Exeter-based Brain in Hand.

Brain in Hand had a mission to improve the lives and independence of vulnerable people, at all stages of their life. Founders Dr Tony Brown and Andrew Stamp wanted to develop a solution that put the individual in control of their lives, from managing their schedule to instantly providing support when most needed.

Exeter: city of innovation

Based in the Innovation Centre at Exeter University, Brain in Hand has partnered with The National Autistic Society to provide a complete support package to those with autism. Helping the business to get going, the company utilised SETsquared, a partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey that supports high-tech start-ups.

The innovative technology of Andrew Stamp and Brain in Hand was acknowledged in March at the House of Commons when its founder was named one of the ‘top 50 entrepreneurs’. It was one of eight businesses based in Exeter to be named at the ceremony, which honoured business for innovation, growth and accessing global markets.

Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support at SETsquared’s centre in Exeter, said: “Brain in Hand is an exciting company that utilises technology and strategic partnerships to enhance the lives of people with autism, mental health conditions and learning difficulties. The array of innovation in the digital health technology sector in Exeter has been demonstrated with eight entrepreneurs based in the city being named in the House of Commons list, all of which SETsquared has proudly been part of their journey.”

Tailored technology supporting anxiety

A uniquely designed software, Brain in Hand includes a mobile phone application that holds a full diary, so events are not missed, as well as providing quick access to personalised coping strategies to help alleviate anxiety.

A traffic light system enables the user to monitor how they feel and if the red light is pressed, a notification goes to a nominated support individual who gets in contact to help them through the situation. Secure access to a website shows usage of the app and levels of anxiety, which can provide insight for reflection.

Andrew Stamp, founder of Brain in Hand, said: “Tony and I felt that technology could play a vital role in proving that bit of extra support needed by those with autism and mental health problems. We wanted an app to enable them to enrol in university or take a job and cope much better in demanding, changeable environments.

“Technology is fundamentally enhancing lives. It can be easy to use and provide that tailored extra support that helps vulnerable people to build confidence, communicate and ultimately have more independence to achieve their goals.

“Being based in Exeter has made a difference to our success, with a real focus on collaboration and technology. We have access to a wide variety of services from the Innovation Centre and SETsquared,” added Andrew.

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