Two budding innovators have designed applications for voice-controlled devices to help tackle substance abuse and plastic pollution.
Eleora Ajanaku, 16, from Cambridge, and Isi Holdom, 13, from Peckham, saw their ideas picked by a judging panel, which included Carol Vorderman, to win a nationwide competition.
After starting to code at the age of nine, Eleora proposed an Alexa skill called ‘Sober Tracker’ to help those struggling with alcohol addiction and substance abuse after being inspired by her grandfather’s own battle.
Her design would see users tell Alexa things such as ‘help’, ‘I need some support’ or ‘I can’t do this anymore’ to prompt the virtual assistant to ask further questions.
These will include asking how they are feeling on a scale of 1-10, if they need emergency assistance, or if they would like to chat, participate in breathing exercises or play a game.
Alexa would then facilitate these requests with the aim of supporting those on their sobriety journey.
App gives verbal assistance for those suffering with substance abusers
Eleora said: “The issue of addiction is rarely openly discussed, so I saw the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge as an opportunity to support this community, and help people feel seen while still allowing them to tackle their issues in private.
“I realised through my research that many people see Alexa as a companion, so I think it is perfectly placed to provide this support, with the skill I’ve coded intended to provide information and guidance in moments addicts need it the most.”
Isi Holdom came up with the idea of ‘Waste Wizard’, an Alexa application designed to promote a better understanding of recycling by giving guidance on what plastics can be recycled in different UK regions, and how.
By asking Alexa questions such as ‘how do I recycle this?’, ‘is this recyclable?’ or ‘check my recycling?’, the virtual assistant would then