DCU staff at the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition
Dr Hannah Goss and Simon Devenney demonstrate the MoveAhead app - designed to encourage people to physically move - at the BTYSE Show

DCU app gets people moving at BTYSE 2023

An app designed at DCU to encourage people - young and old - to get moving, while having fun doing it, was on display at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition last Friday at the RDS in Dublin.

The MoveAhead app, invented at DCU, and designed to tackle the alarming fall off in physical abilities of young people proved to be a popular distraction at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Show this year. 

On Friday, Simon Devenney and Dr Hannah Goss, were on hand to demonstrate the working of an app, invented at DCU by Dr Johnan Issartel and Dr Jamie Gann, called MoveAhead.

The app, which is the brainchild of DCU's Dr Johnan Issartel and Dr Jamie Gann, uses motion tracking technology to encourage people to reach designated movement levels. 

On Friday last, it was demonstrated to the public by Simon Devenney and Dr Hannah Goss of the Faculty of Science and Health. 

Dr Goss said of the experience: 

I think our age range went from three to 73 throughout the afternoon. We demonstrated a game, powered by MoveAhead's engine, that was primarily focused on skills for young children.

However, we also had some great conversations with older children who could see how the movement skills could help the sports they plan, and adults who could see the potential of 'positive screen time'. 

Modern children are now used to moving as part of screen time with Tik-Tok and Pokemon Go, incorporating an active ingredient and these remain some of the most downloaded apps in history. 

However, these apps cannot support movement development. MoveAhead's ability to personalise the child's movement experience supports their increase engagement, development and growth. 

The MoveAhead app can personalise the child's movement experience to support increased physical engagement, development and growth. 

The app, which proved very popular among visitors at last week's show is already in use in 10 schools in Ireland. Dr Goss, said that the evidence shows that children, all around the world are losing the kind of basic physical abilities that were once taken for granted. 

Dr Goss commented: 

Children now spend an average of six hours a day in front of a screen. Our research echoes those from around the world and shows that children can no longer hop, skip, throw or even kick a ball properly.

MoveAhead has been built to specifically to meet children where they are and bring 'guilt free' movement and physical activity in their digital play experiences. 

The show was busy, as always, with students travelling from all parts of Ireland, from Northern Ireland down to west Cork - with some parents who travelled with their children taking a three-day break in the capital. 

The work of staff faculty of science and health who gave their time to the show to engage with students will help greatly to promote the university as a destination for young people curious about the world, the forces that shape it, and the scientific discoveries that help us to better understand it.