How students are making an impact on mental health through technology
Posted by Laura Cincera, Program Manager Google Developer Student Clubs Europe
Mental health remains one of the most neglected areas of healthcare worldwide, with nearly 1 billion people currently living with a mental health condition that requires support. But what if there was a way to make mental health care more accessible and tailored to individual needs?
The Google Developer Student Clubs Solution Challenge aims to inspire and empower university students to tackle our most pressing challenges – like mental health. The Solution Challenge is an annual opportunity to turn visionary ideas into reality and make a real-world impact using the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a blueprint for action. Students from all over the world work together and apply their skills to create innovative solutions using Google technology, creativity and the power of community.
One of last year’s top Solution Challenge proposals, Xtrinsic, was a cooperation between two communities of student leaders – GDSC Freiburg in Germany and GDSC Kyiv in Ukraine. The team developed an innovative mental health research and therapy application that adapts to users’ personal habits and needs providing effective support at scale.
Using a wearable device and TensorFlow, Xtrinsic helps users manage their symptoms by providing customized behavioral suggestions based on their physiological signs. It acts as an intervention tool for mental health issues such as nightmares, panic attacks, and anxiety and adapts the user’s environment to their specific needs – which is essential for effective interventions. For example, if the user experiences a panic attack, the app detects the physiological signs using a smartwatch and a machine learning model, and triggers appropriate action, such as playing relaxing sounds, changing the room light to blue, or starting a guided breathing exercise. The solution was built using several Google technologies, including Android, Assistant/Actions on Google, Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud, TensorFlow, WearOS, DialogFlow, and Google Health Services.
The team behind Xtrinsic is diverse. Alexander, Chikordili, Emma and Vandysh come from different backgrounds but share a passion for AI and how it can be leveraged to improve the lives of many. They all recognize the importance of shedding awareness on mental health and creating a supportive culture that is free from stigma. Their personal experiences in conflict areas, such as Syria and Ukraine inspired them to develop the application.
Xtrinsic was recognized as one of the Top 3 winning teams in the 2022 Google Solution Challenge for its innovative approach to mental health research and therapy. The team has since supported several other social impact initiatives – helping grow the network of entrepreneurs and community leaders in Europe and beyond.
Learn more about Google Developer Student Clubs
If you feel inspired to make a positive change through technology, submit your project to Solution Challenge 2023 here. And if you’re passionate about technology and are ready to use your skills to help your local community, then consider becoming a Google Developer Student Clubs Lead!
We encourage all interested university students to apply here and submit their applications as soon as possible. The applications in Europe, India, North America and MENA are currently open.
Learn more about Google Developer Student Clubs here.