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Innovate UK

Technology to help young people concentrate

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From techie to Centre for Creativity

Centre for creativity Bench by sea

I am a techie at heart with a background in signal processing. I worked for Apple in the mid 90s developing Chinese handwriting recognition technology. I then joined Ericsson at the end of the 90s looking at future smartphone devices and applications. I had the great opportunity of working with top designers, engineers and anthropologists during that time and became fascinated by the creative process.

Since then I have been undertaking research into the factors and processes affecting the creativity of individuals and teams together with my colleague Gina Deininger.

We decided to set up the Centre for Creativity in 2013 to:

  1. Help individuals and organisations develop their own creativity
  2. Study and support creativity in the field of education.

We believe that creativity is not only key to future economic growth, but also key to a person’s sense of purpose and well-being.

We continue to undertake research into the factors and processes that affect creativity and also provide training and consultancy services to organisations across different sectors including:

  • business
  • education
  • government

Developing a solution to help young people concentrate

Centre for creativity, child painting

Our motivation for applying for Innovate UK funding was to study the technical feasibility of developing a solution that helps young people:

  • monitor
  • train
  • improve

their own attention levels.

This is of significance as:

one of the key factors affecting creativity (as well as learning in general) is attention.

A solution that can help improve ‘relaxed concentration’ levels for young people could have a significant impact on their ability to learn and enhance their creativity.

Recent research studies suggest that heart rate variability (HRV) data can provide valuable information on a person’s level of attention and stress.

The main objective of this feasibility study was to evaluate whether real-time bio-feedback of specific heart rate variability (HRV) measures can accurately track and help improve attention levels.

Heart rate can track levels of concentration

Centre for creativity HRV Monitor Data
Heart Rate V Monitor Data

The main finding from the study was that it is possible to use real-time biofeedback of heart rate variability measures to track and help improve levels of ‘relaxed concentration’ using the latest heart rate monitor watches such as the Mio Fuse.

Practical applications: from ‘mindfulness’ to sports

This has implications for various target markets including:

  • young people
  • adults

Such a solution could possibly be used to help young people improve their concentration levels at school, or could be integrated with ‘mindfulness’ applications targeted at both young people and adults to help reduce stress and promote well-being.

In addition, it could be used for niche markets such as sports apps requiring improved levels of relaxed concentration or integrated into online games.

Seeking partnerships

We are seeking partnerships with companies working in the areas of:

  • mindfulness
  • education
  • sport
  • game development

where training in relaxed concentration is beneficial, so that the technology can be further trailed.

Contact us

We are based in Newport (South Wales) and Munich (Germany).

You can get in touch with us (or just find out more about our work) via:

You can follow Innovate UK on:

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