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18th-19th April saw STEAMhouse host its first in-house STEAMlab and it certainly did not disappoint. The STEAMlabs Health Hack attracted creative minds including health professionals, coders, entrepreneurs, academics and artists to tackle challenges set by the health sector. For this STEAMlab, STEAMhouse teamed up with a range of stakeholders, including South Birmingham CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) for South Birmingham & Worcester, West Midlands Respiratory Health team and NHS England.

Having being presented with the challenge and formed into diverse teams of mixed skills and expertise, the innovators then got to work finding ways to tackle the issues before presenting their ideas at the end of the hack to a panel of judges with the opportunity to get funding for their idea.

The pitches had to describe:

  • The Problem: including a quantitative and qualitative description of the impacts and costs.Judge
  • The Solution: describing what it does and how it works, who the users are, who funds or buys it, what the business case is and what impact it will have. Participants were also asked to include a demo of some level of prototype – whether that’s just a paper prototype or a working piece of tech.
  • Potential Difficulties: What challenges may be faced and how might hurdles be overcome?
  • How to Make It Real: the road for bringing the solution to life. What are the main stages, what support might be needed, who would need to be involved, what might the costs be, how long might it take, how might you test and then scale the solution? What do you need to do so? What will be the pay-off for those involved? – You get the idea!

The judging panel was made up of representatives from the West Midlands Respiratory
Healthcare team, NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Doctors and other clinicians.

The innovators were competing for four humbly illustrious prizes including:

  • Overall Winner – awarded for best overall solution as decided by the judging panel.
  • Best Collaborator – awarded to the team whose members have collaborated well amongst themselves and made best use of their combined skills.
  • Best Prototype – awarded to the team with the best prototype to illustrate or demonstrate their solution. This could either be a piece of working tech or a simpler way of communicating the essence of their solution.
  • Most Transferable Idea awarded to the team whose idea/solution pushed the boundaries the most – either in terms of how much they could achieve in a day, or in terms or potential impact or potential scale of their solution. This doesn’t consider deliverability.


The winners…






Best Prototype Group: Produced an app called Hussel – Huff. The team had three coders and two artists. The app is a visual and interactive guide, designed to help with chest clearance techniques.






Love air



Most Transferable: “Love Air” who are using a tech SMS diary, to reduce concerns of patients about to start respiratory rehab courses to increase uptake.

This team had six people; coders, scientists, business thinkers and two academics – Robert Cook and Ashok Patel, from Birmingham City University’s Life Science department. 




Space between us



Overall Winner Group: This team had two artists, a business thinker and an academic- Andrew Walsh from Birmingham City University. They produced a prototype called “The Space Between Us” – using a responsive art space and facial recognition to measure and encourage empathetic responses in conversations.





Strictly come therapy




Best Collaborator: had a health professional, a dancer and business thinker. They designed a Strictly Come Therapy” tool, using 3D mapped dance routines to aid rehabilitation therapy.






Funding has been identified by the CCG to develop Love Air and Hussel- Huff app and West Midlands Respiratory team have agreed to showcase the Strictly Come Therapy tool. STEAMhouse will continue to offer support “The Space Between Us” installation and help to develop the prototype further.


STEAMlabs are meeting points where people from a range of backgrounds can come together to help spark new ideas, progress a product concept, or find new people and organisations to partner with. It provides a unique set of resources to support business growth, innovation, exploration and skills. We hope to see you at the next one, keep your eyes peeled for an announcement on our events page and stay connected with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook!


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