Milton Keynes councillor who suffers panic attacks invents his own high tech mental health aid

His hand-held 'Pebble' machine uses rhythmic stimulation to soothe the mind

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 12:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 12:06 pm

A councillor who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks has invested his own clever solution.

Cllr Rob Middleton, who is Labour Cabinet member for Resources, had tried to cope with his anxiety himself for more than a decade.

When the problem grew into panic attacks, he decided enough was enough and set out to tackle the "millstone round his neck" by inventing a practical tool that was small and discreet enough to take anywhere - even to council meetings.

The Pebble is a hand-held calming device

Rob turned to LastBasic, a global product development marketplace for inventors, to turn his idea into reality.

"Through his own journey with mental health, he found that most treatments were either expensive, highly medicalised, inaccessible to the general public or all three. Despite being extremely busy as local councillor and new father, Rob felt that he had a duty to change this situation and improve access to mental health support for others," said a spokesman for LastBasic.

Rob had previously paid for private mental health therapy sessions, which is where he first encountered EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapy. This is designed to alleviate anxiety through rhythmic alternating stimulation, such as tapping alternating parts of the body.

His invention, called The Pebble, is a hand-held device that mimics these rhythmic taps to calm the mind. The official name for the process is Bi-Lateral Alternating Stimulation Therapy.

Cllr Rob Middleton

LastBasic say The Pebble not only helps banish the symptoms of anxiety, but also helps alleviate day to day stress whilst promoting an overall sense of wellbeing.

The company helped Rob develop a prototype and now will assist him in turning his mental health tech idea into a reality.

LastBasic’s Product Development Marketplace allows anyone with a hardware tech idea to convert it into a functional prototype using a community of expert industrial designers and engineers.

Before discovering them, Rob had contacted several traditional consultancy companies in the UK but found that attempts of contact were either met with silence or had huge associated costs.

The Pebble could even be taken to council meetings

He said: “LastBasic are a highly professional and approachable team, which makes them stand out to me. The payment process has been quite flexible, and I’ve saved tens of thousands of pounds by using LastBasic over an engineering consultancy. The latter just don’t cater to individuals who want to bring forward a solution. LastBasic was a much better choice. They help you to work out your own solutions in an empowering way."

Rob’s Pebble is in the final stages of production, and he is extremely excited to move onto the next stage of development.

Mental health has become a significant topic in the UK, particularly following the pandemic, with 50% of people saying their mental health worsened.

A LastBasic spokesman said: "Solutions like Rob’s could have a significant positive impact on people suffering from anxiety, which means there is clearly a need for LastBasic’s platform to help inventors like Rob bring their ideas to light."