Poly student wins award for app that spots stress

A new app may soon put a solution to stress management right in people's pockets.

The Emotional Analysis Buddy (EAB), created by Nanyang Polytechnic student Koh Vinleon, analyses a user's daily posts on different social media platforms to tell if the person is under emotional stress. And if it "sees" that that is the case, it will start "talking" to the person to try to help.

The EAB was one of more than 20 innovative products, solutions and applications to win an award at the 2016 Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) Awards yesterday evening, securing its creator a joint first for the Best Innovative ICM Student Project in the tertiary education category.

Mr Koh, 20, produced the EAB to try to help teens manage their emotions. He said: "There was a lot of news on teens self-harming and it was actually quite worrying for me because I myself am a youth." He added that as he was studying information technology at the time, he thought he could apply it to help.

The EAB analyses users' input on different platforms on their mobile phones. Any word keyed in - be it in a Google search or a Facebook chat - will be analysed for patterns, and the users will receive updates on their emotional stress changes.

Should a persistent pattern of negative words be detected, the app will activate its "buddy" feature, initiating a "chat" with the user . If the mood persists or worsens, the app will provide the user with a hotline to seek professional help.

Raffles Institution clinched a double gold in the secondary school category, while Fuhua Primary School and Rosyth School tied for first place in the primary division.

Awards were also given to the most innovative start-ups in the early and growth stages.

Said Mr Altona Widjaja, vice-president of OCBC's Open Vault, its fintech and innovation arm, and one of the judges: "We saw a lot of innovation during the presentations."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline Poly student wins award for app that spots stress. Subscribe