Midland County students create phone app for people with Parkinson’s

Midland High School seniors Lauren McGuirk, Elliana Rinn and Allison Scheffer have developed a virtual reality program aimed at overcoming the barriers that patients with Parkinson’s disease face when seeking treatment.

From now on, the students are in the awareness phase to make their creation a reality.

“We think this app could really change the world, so we need to do something about it,” McGuirk said in reference to the funding opportunities the students explored for the app.

The team developed a virtual reality program, called Virtual Motion Therapy, which presents a playful form of physiotherapy intended to overcome the obstacles that patients with Parkinson’s disease face when seeking treatment, including self-motivation. , the accessibility of physiotherapy options and the cost of treatment. Midland High students presented a gameplay video to the Midland Public Schools Board on Monday.

Their innovation helped Midland High win the AH Nickless Innovation Award competition for the fourth consecutive year. Students focused on removing barriers to increase access to care based on care and cost, with an emphasis on a portable home option.

The award was in part a $20,000 STEM scholarship, which helped fund student and faculty needs, such as equipment for Midland High School’s chemistry labs. Each student won a $5,000 scholarship for post-graduation opportunities.

The team reported that there had been an attempt to connect with Parkinson’s foundations and other interested parties, including celebrities Kirk Gibson and Michael J. Fox who both live with the disease, and Hinge Health , which offers digital “healthcare solutions”.

In October 2017, McGuirk’s grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease; he has since died.

School board president Scott McFarland asked who owns the intellectual property rights to the app during Monday’s board meeting. The team’s teacher and coach, Bob Fox, said the team has copyright opportunities made available through the Innovation Awards program.

Fox said the three students had been developing the project for more than a calendar year.

The full board presentation is available at Youtubevisit the Midland Public Schools page for a read from Monday’s meeting.

NICK KING | [email protected] The AH Nickless Innovation Award is displayed in the lobby of the Alan W. Ott Auditorium during the Second Annual AH Nickless Innovation Award Competition Saturday at Saginaw Valley State University .Nick King / Midland Daily News

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