App fills a void on student stress

Local | Sophie Hui 18 Apr 2017

Two Hong Kong University of Science and Technology students, who created a mobile application to help users reduce psychological pressure, won the Best Student Invention Grand Award under the Hong Kong ICT Awards.

The app - Void, pictured - which was launched last November, had already scooped first runner-up award in the world citizenship category of the Microsoft Imagine Cup last year.

Hercules Chan Kai-ho, 23, a Year Four student in risk management and business intelligence, also studied psychotherapy and hypnotherapy for two years. He designed the content for the app while computer science and engineering PhD student Harry Chan Kai-ho, 25, used his technical knowledge to carry out the ideas.

"This app provides a mental wellness service and combines hypnotherapy and psychological theory to help users control their stress, improve sleep quality and concentration," Hercules Chan said. "Research has found that less than 25 percent of people with mental problems will seek help, and therefore, we hope users can reduce stress and relax after using our app."

The app provides a seven-day treatment and it is suggested that users spend 10-15 minutes a day before going to bed to play an easy game and follow audio instructions to regulate their breathing step-by-step and calm themselves.

Users can also contact a student counselor through the app if necessary. The two creators said they are going to collaborate with counseling service centers in other local universities to help more students.

The app which is still in the trial stage, can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store and the App store.

Although the app focuses on helping university students, the duo are going to improve its design so as to help secondary school students and adults as well. They are also developing a smart wristband to better link up the app with users.

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