New phone app aims to give young people a more realistic view of life

RESEARCHER: Lisa Pepper

DESIGNER: Dan Pod (right)

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A MOBILE phone app developed by a team at Bradford University could help young people get a more realistic and less "airbrushed" view of what people actually look like.

Lisa Pepper, a second year Psychology PhD student, is investigating young children's body image dissatisfaction as part of her research. With young people constantly bombarded with touched up images of celebrities - and magazine racks packed with criticism of celebrities for having any fat or cellulite on show, she decided to do something to get more realistic body images out there.

Miss Pepper is particularly interested in developing more accurate ways of assessing young children's beliefs about muscularity. She came up with an idea for a mobile app that children could touch to manipulate images of different body shapes. Her lecturers then worked with the School of Computing to set the task of creating this app to one of its students. Dan Pod accepted the challenge and has produced a prototype of a mobile app.

Although still in the development stages, it is anticipated that the app will be used by health professionals dealing with young people.

Miss Pepper said: "The development of a body image assessment mobile app has been the focus of my PhD studies for the last 11 months, so the chance to draw on the expertise at the Department of Computing has been invaluable.

“Dan and our respective supervisors have shown great commitment to the project and it has been exciting to see the two disciplines working together. It has been very rewarding to see my idea come to fruition and with the continuing support of the Division of Psychology and the Department of Computing I’m looking forward to developing the project further".

Mr Pod said, "Working on this year's dissertation has been the most rewarding experience of my university studies. The University's hands on approach allowed me to build a system focusing on elements from both disciplines. I look forward to seeing my system deployed in a live environment and I am confident that the University's bright minds will carry on my research."

The project has been awarded The Best Computing final year project award this year, with the inputs and possible impacts being highly commended by the Board of Examiners.

The academics involved were Dr Gill Waters and Dr Ellie Bryant, of Psychology and Prof Dan Neagu and Dr Yang Lan, of Computing.

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