Our Sophie Crispe is a real bright spark
An award winning Matamata Intermediate student could help more than just her mum.
At the Bright Sparks award ceremony on October 30, where she won the junior software section, Sophie Crispe was able to network with industry people interested in using her invention. It could be useful for stroke victims and those with brain tumours. Someone who suffered migraines has also found it helpful.
At her school’s science fair the Matamata Intermediate student placed second in the year seven technology category. At the Inghams East Waikato Science and Technology Fair, where she won the Kiwanis Junior Cup and gained a judges merit award for excellence, a judge said the app should be promoted to the New Zealand Rugby Union as it could be used by rugby players to track symptoms after concussions.
Sophie, 12, made My Brain Diary so her mum, Moira, could rank her symptoms from one to five as she recovered from a brain injury after a car accident in 2013.
Moira had tried to do this on paper before her daughter made the app but when she looked back at her notes she had all these numbers, but they weren’t in the same order each day so she couldn’t tell what symptoms they were corresponding to.
The app also graphs symptoms, which Moira had tried to do on Excel but she was too exhausted to continue it. ‘‘I think just to see you are making improvement was helpful because sometimes it felt like Groundhog Day.’’ The app also made her realise she couldn’t tie her own shoes and had got around that by wearing slip-on shoes, although that was no longer an issue.
The app also helped Moira recognise what made her symptoms worse. ‘‘For me fatigue made my memory go.’’
Moira could also put reminders into the app so she could remember to eat breakfast or where she had put items.
Sophie got advice from an occupational therapist so she knew what information they would want from patients and got a designer to make the app.
The annual Bright Sparks Awards is a showcase of school students’ prototypes using electronics, engineering or programming elements.
Award winning app inventor Sophie Crispe and her mum Moira, who inspired the idea, at the Bright Sparks ceremony.