Will WatersOtumoetai College
Lifeboat was created because of my experience with anxiety. I wanted something that is always online and accessible, that can ground you and take your mind off whatever is making you feel anxious. I designed it to help people build the confidence they need to talk to someone in person and get help for their anxiety. I think of it as the first step in recovery.
What inspired you to create your project?
I was inspired by my everyday struggle with getting out the door- at one point, I wasn’t even going to school. I felt like everyone was watching me and that I was doing something wrong, all day, every day. It is still a problem for me, but you can get help with managing it. I didn’t have many friends to talk at the time- so I created Lifeboat. I thought, ‘why don’t I make a chatbot that is online all the time so that there is always someone to talk to?’. Anxiety is something that has affected me for most of my life, and I don’t think it has the recognition that it needs- so I want to bring awareness to what is going on.
Are you the first inventor in your family?
I’d say I am. I started programming when I was about 6 or 7- I thought I would just try to make an app. I’m 14 now, and I’m still working on it just about every day. It is something that I really enjoy, and I always have a few projects on the go at a time.
What is your dream job?
It’s actually nothing to do with software. I’ve always had a strong passion for aviation and aircraft so I would love to be a pilot for Air New Zealand, but I do really enjoy working with software as well.