Mum helps Hull company develop 'Moodbeam' after daughter's bullying fears

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 24 May 2017

From gadgets that measure how many steps we take to gizmos that monitor our heart rate, sleep and even the calories we consume, there is now a host of devices on the market that can tell us how fit and healthy we are.

But what about something that can help us understand how we are feeling?

An innovative Hull company has now created a unique product which, for the first time, offers a metric for happiness.

Moodbeam is a small device that enables users to log whether they are feeling happy or sad by pressing one of two buttons.

The data is then recorded and over time creates a series of patterns that can be used by parents, carers, relatives or employees, to establish triggers and pave the way for conversations that can help make the world a happier place.

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The idea behind the product started when co-founder Christina Colmer McHugh's discovered her daughter was being bullied.

She said: "My eldest daughter came home from school and told me she thought she was getting bullied. My heart stopped."She is such a happy child and nothing fazes her, so to hear she might be being bullied shook me to the core.

"The school were incredibly supportive. However, I wanted something that would enable me to see how she was feeling when I wasn't around, and realised there was nothing on the market."

Mrs Colmer McHugh approached friend and fellow entrepreneur Jonathan Elvidge with her idea, and Moodbeam was born.

The founder of the Gadget Shop and co-founder and managing director of the brand-leading RED5 gift and gadget business said he was "blown away" by the concept, and the two began looking at how to turn the idea into reality.

Mr Elvidge said: "Originally, we created a watch-style device with five buttons and asked a focus group of Hull mums for their thoughts.

"One thing that came out of that was they felt that device might draw attention to a child if they were being bullied."

Taking the product back to the drawing board, Moodbeam was simplified into a smaller device that could be hidden in a pocket, with just two buttons.

Originally designed with children in mind, the overwhelming response to the innovative product has seen its scope expand into healthcare settings, businesses, family settings – basically anywhere there are people.

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Mrs Colmer McHugh said: "We have had such an amazing response. "We have approached people with the view of pinpointing where Moodbeam would work best, but it has had the opposite effect.

"Everyone we have approached has wanted to try it, and also suggested other uses."

To bring the product to market, Moodbeam has expanded its team to include software lead Guy Wallace, design lead Heather Elvidge, and C4DI co-founders John Connolly and David Keel, who are acting as advisers.

Moodbeam is now being trialled within 20 different sectors and age-related groups.

Mr Elvidge said: "Moodbeam is very much a Hull product and a Hull idea, and has happened thanks to the skills in the city.

"We now want the city to share it, and get involved."

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