On April 28, the Blind Brook Computer Club won its first-ever victory in the annual Westchester County Mobile App Bowl, taking home two awards. The contest was organized by the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University and attracted over 400 participants from high schools and colleges across the tri-state area.
The task for the contest was to design an app that solves a challenge facing people 65 and older in various aspects of their lives including shopping, healthcare, transportation, finance, recreation, exercise, communication, and other areas. To meet these criteria, the club created an app called BrainStem, which plays on both mental health and the acronym STEM for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The app is meant to target the elderly and prevent the onset of diseases including Alzheimer’s, dementia, and arthritis. Although humans cannot stop the brain from aging over time, various activities build up brain cells and improve cognitive connection. Accordingly, the app includes four mini-games meant to improve four focus areas: memory, logic, reasoning, and reflexes.
One game, Stack, is a block stacking game that helps to improve rule memorization, as it gets progressively more difficult and makes the brain work harder over time. Another, Tile, involves flipping images and then recalling which you flipped to strengthen memory. Summation brings together all the skills previously mentioned in a quiz format and helps users develop their critical thinking skills, reasoning, and reaction time. Finally, the Music game includes three songs and uses rhythm to improve reflexes, which is beneficial for those with arthritis. To keep users interested, the app provides statistics on their performance, as well as a leaderboard and feedback on their performance.
The members of this year’s app design team are Ethan Tillison, Adam Weiss, Adam Fleishaker, Owen Xie, Orsen Way, Claire Wieser, and Agustin Otero. Russell Scharf, Justin John, and Arnav Mohapatra also helped to create the app. In order to most efficiently solve the challenge, the club divided up the work, with one or two members working on each game. Once the games were programmed, Ethan Tillison rewrote the code for iOS. Finally, the club used GitHub to collaborate and combine the games into a cohesive app.
The club received the Usability Award, which included a $500 cash prize, for their app’s navigation intuitiveness, flow, organization, relevance to the target audience, and readiness for the app store. In addition, the club took home the YouTube Social Award for making a video about their app that received the most likes/comments on YouTube.
“We really have to thank the community because everyone cared about it and we’re happy that our ideas succeeded,” said sophomore Agustin Otero. Thanks to this award, the club will get to take a tour of Google NYC and the YouTube studios there. With an extremely successful year, the Computer Club is proud of its accomplishments and is looking forward to more achievements in the years ahead.