Local MIT Contest Winner!

Mustafa Muhyi’s (a middle-schooler at Sierra Middle School) app that urges healthy choices won first place at MIT’s App Inventor Summit.

Mustafa’s app helps make exercise and healthy eating more fun for kids, while also monitoring their heart rate to stem the tide of child obesity. “A student wouldn’t just want to sit in a room and have a lecture,” Mustafa said. “They would like having fun like biking and playing games.” The app asks users to input their age, calculating the upper and lower target heart rate they should reach when exercising. Users then attach a heart rate monitor to their ear lobe and exercise. Mustafa can set colorful LED lights on a wrist cuff to blink when users reach those target heart rates. Users then rate how hard the exercise was — light, medium or heavy — and green, blue or red LED lights illuminate. Another part of the app teaches users about healthy and unhealthy foods. The page displays a number of food icons, from an apple to water to french fries. Users tap an icon to illuminate the LED lights, indicating whether a selection is healthy (a green light) or unhealthy (a red light). Mustafa used his project to compare students’ heart rates when biking and hula hooping, showing how biking gets students’ heart rate to the target beats per minute more quickly than hula hooping. He also asked student users if they would be more willing to exercise with the app. All 25 students, ages 11 to 16, said they liked the application and it motivated them to eat healthy and exercise more.

Muhyi will showcase his app to the Las Cruces public at 5:30 pm, Thursday, July 31, at the Arrowhead Technology Incubator. There is no fee to attend this even, but registration is required by emailing ati@nmsu.edu.

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