Times of India | 3 months ago | 27-08-2022 | 02:40 am
Panaji: Two 12-year-olds from Sanquelim, Viraj Marathe and Janhavee Joshi, have built an app to help dementia patients as well as their caregivers. In the process, they have impressed not only the judges at the Smart India Hackathon 2022, but also Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The Class VII students from the rural school, Dr K B Hedgewar Vidyamandir, Karapur Tisk, Sanquelim, finished fifth in the junior category at the Hackathon. At the Grand Finale of Smart India Hackathon, Viraj, got the opportunity to explain his app to the PM, in an interaction held via video-conferencing.The breakthrough mobile gaming application alerts dementia patients to locate their missing keys or reminds them to take their medicines on time. What makes the application unique is that there is a separate app which allows the caregiver to remotely alert the dementia patient about tasks or to extend help.“What is dementia. It is a term used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities, severely enough to interfere with one’s daily life. In India, more than four million people have some form of dementia. Unfortunately, only one in ten get some form of diagnosis, treatment or care, since there is very little awareness about dementia in our society,” Viraj told the Prime Minister.His parents Rajeshree and Vishwanath being doctors, Viraj said that it helped him realise what a global health issue dementia is for both patients and caregivers.Having learnt programming and robotics from the age of 7 and currently pursuing a software diploma course and another web development masters course, Viraj thought of finding a solution to the issue of easier caregiving for dementia. “I have always been keen to solve society’s problems with my programming knowledge so when Smart India Hackathon 2022 was announced I decided to team up with my friend Janhavee and our mentor Milan Patil to design a solution,” said VirajWhile Patil worked on research, data and information, Janhavee worked on the design and aesthetics of the app and so was born ‘AgeCare’.The app menu consists of provisions like mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing etc. “In mental wellbeing, we have created reminiscence therapy, which is the mainstay or dementia therapy. It involves documenting of previous discussions and activities with props such as photos, videos etc. Our app has art therapy, music, games and video which help cause cognitive and behavioural improvement and provide an outlet for self-expression. The hyperlocal communication system, diary, prarthana and wellness modules of the app will help keep a positive frame of mind,” Viraj told the PM.The app also includes modules for yoga and meditation which will help improve function of brain parts which control mood, memory and attention, he said. “If the dementia patient forgets to take medicines our alarm system can be used to alert them and remind their caregiver. We have made a provision to control the patient’s app with a separate caregiver’s control. Our app is minimalistic and simple and light app which means it does not use too much RAM and CPU power. People who are not well-versed with mobile technology can also access it effortlessly,” said Viraj.“Are you in touch with any yoga institution?” the PM asked as Viraj explained about the use of yoga modules in the app. The children clarified that they have sought help from yoga experts to include asanas which are helpful to the elderly.“Our USP is that we have created two separate applications for dementia patients and caregivers as well as keeping in mind difficulties faced by both of them,” said Viraj, who has previously also created apps like EduRoot to making learning basics simple for young children.