Rebecca Bright, the brains behind apps that enable people with disabilities to communicate through mobile devices with a puff of breath, has been crowned a winner at the NatWest everywoman awards.

The awards celebrate women entrepreneurs in all sectors, and Bright won the IBM-sponsored Iris Award, which recognises women who provide solutions that ultimately help to build a smarter planet.

Bright, a Londoner aged 33, launched Therapy Box with its first smartphone app, Predictable, in 2011 based on her experience as a speech and language therapist.

The app enables people with disabilities to communicate via their mobile devices using a switch suitable for their needs. For example, a pneumatic switch is activated with either a 'sip' or 'puff' of the lips, a foam-covered 'pillow' switch is for those who wish to use their head or cheek to activate it, and the 'micro light' switch is for those who are only able to make the lightest touch. This switch can be activated by just 0.4 ounces of pressure, and gives auditory and tactile feedback.

Bright works mainly with the NHS and schools in the UK, and has also launched the apps in German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Spanish, as well as in the US.

The other finalists in the category were Christine Bhatt, chief executive of specialist data collection company Systematics International and Patricia O'Hagan, managing director of Core Systems, a software development company and provider of identity management solutions to prisons.

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