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California teen robotics team creates mobile app for kids with autism to become more engaged

scripps ranch robotics team.png
Posted at 10:43 AM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 17:37:08-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Mechanical Advantage is a group of teens in the San Diego area wired for engineering and community service. The group is behind a new mobile app that helps people with autism become more engaged physically and mentally.

"We are as individuals who want to give back to our community. We also strive for success in competition, but it's just as important to engage people who don't have the same opportunities," said team leader Rohan Bosworth.

The first-tech challenge robotics team won first place in a regional event that earned them a spot to compete in the inaugural Global Innovation World Championship.

"We had to design an innovation that solved a real-world problem related to physical and mental health," added Bosworth.

Creating Pathfinder, an app that provides personalized and customizable games for kids with autism.

Users must earn playing time by completing physical exercise goals tracked by the devices' accelerometer to access more games on the app.

"We've interacted with a lot of autistic kids and have seen that they have specific needs and specific traits. We recognized through research that no solution targeted these needs," said Bosworth.

The group didn't win the grand prize but virtually took home the Global Innovation Impact Award.

"It made all of us feel how feasible this innovation was and made us excited our efforts paid off, and that this could be a real app one day," Bosworth said.

The team was also excited because it was the first project they got to work on in person since the pandemic.

"We have more projects planned to grow STEM in our community and help benefit other populations in San Diego," said Bosworth.

This story originally reported by Vanessa Paz on 10News.com.