Brain in Hand: this new app for people with autism was just awarded 200k

Investors have just awarded £200,000 to an app that helps people to navigate the world more easily. Brain in Hand is designed for people with autism, mental illness, or cognitive impairment who feel anxious being out and about on their own. Users can input a situation that makes them anxious, for example, needing to catch a bus home, and be given a step-by-step solution. There’s also a virtual panic button they can press for instant access to a mentor who will help them.

It was developed by Andrew Stamp, whose younger son has autism, in conjunction with Dr Tony Brown, a clinical psychologist at the Autism Diagnostic Research Centre in Southampton. They hope it could one day be used by schools and colleges, NHS trusts, social services, and even in the workplace.

Part of their investment (£50,000) comes from Clearly Social Angels, the UK’s largest impact-focused investor network (which means investors are looking for projects that aren’t only a good financial bet, but that are socially conscious, too). The rest was awarded by The Solent Growth Hub in Portsmouth, which provides support for people who want to expand their businesses and is backed by the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Brain in Hand won Technology of the Year in the Building Better Healthcare Awards for 2103/14 and was highly commended in the National Autistic Society’s Technology of the year awards earlier this year.

The company’s CEO, David Fry, said that the app would not only make life easier for people with neurological, mental, or cognitive challenges, but could also ease pressure on carers and support workers. He said that early trials showed that users become less anxious and achieve ‘high levels of independence’. The company will now use their investment to expand the app’s functionality and reach, including broadening its use to people with dementia, too.

Diane Shipley