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‘Yo’ - Dress/Sense winning team announced

The winning team

Press release issued: 4 December 2014

A support system to aid cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) has been announced as the winning entry in the Dress/Sense technology competition run by the University of Bristol’s SPHERE project.

The competition, which challenged teams of scientists, medics, engineers, designers and textile artists to design a piece of wearable technology with a health benefit, was launched by the President of the Republic of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, when he visited the University of Bristol in October.

The winning concept, ‘Yo’ a support system to aid cognitive behaviour therapy, includes team members: digital technologist, Annie Lywood; University of Bristol students, Antonis Vafeas, Egho Ireo, Michal Kozlowski, Themis Omirou and pupils from The Red Maids’ School, Kimberly Higgins and Olivia Tiley.

The team’s solution is Yo, wearable products and accessories, which help those who begin CBT, stay motivated to engage effectively with therapy.  The idea behind Yo is to make CBT more accessible to more people.

The team believe the Yo devices will promote user-awareness to break their negative thought cycles and behaviour patterns, resulting in a positive change of mood.  The concept storyboard illustrated how the Yo devices encourage self-reflection, human interaction and incremental changes to the user’s daily activities.

The judging panel felt that the concept was well developed and that the interaction of a wearable device with the base station for specific use in CBT support was quite unique.  Mental illness affects a very large number of people and the technology offered by this project would be able to help many people.

The judges believe that the concept has great potential and it should be developed further. All the competition entries demonstrated excellent involvement from young people, however the judges were particularly impressed by the contribution from the winning team’s children.

Professor Ian Craddock, Director of SPHERE based in the Faculty of Engineering, said: “I would like to thank all the Dress/Sense participants for their commitment to the competition. Together a new community of wearable health technology researchers has been built.  I hope that, through SPHERE, we will continue to work with many of you in the months and years ahead.

“I hope that the participants enjoyed and learned from the experience – everyone at SPHERE certainly did.  The quality of the competition entries was extremely high and the panel of independent judges commented on how hard it was to judge the result.”

Isabel Tobias, Headmistress at The Red Maids' School, said: "The problems of the present day and of the future will be solved by sharp minds, working together, to harness the best of technology.

“This competition has given two of our brightest young minds the unique opportunity to work with University of Bristol students to address a pressing mental health issue. We are obviously grateful that they have had this opportunity and thrilled that they are part of the winning team: innovation, collaboration and intellectual curiosity are qualities we value and encourage at Red Maids' and the girls have demonstrated this in abundance."

The winning team will be presented with their £5,000 prize by George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, at a prize giving event to be held at the Watershed on Friday 5 December at 5.30 pm. 

Dress/Sense is funded by SPHERE (an EPSRC IRC) with support from Toshiba, Kinneir Dufort, the West of England Academic Science Network (AHSN) and Designability.

Further information


SPHERE (Sensor Platform for HEalthcare in a Residential Environment) is an interdisciplinary research collaboration (IRC) funded by the EPSRC and led by the University of Bristol, together with the universities of Southampton and Reading.

The £12 million project, which focuses on developing sensor systems to monitor health and wellbeing in the home, is working in partnership with Bristol City Council, IBM, Toshiba and Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC).

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