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Inventors Need Community’s Votes

Rocky Run X-BOTS team vies for innovation award.

Back row, from left, are X-BOTS team members Nikhil Chintada, Satish Venkatesan and Sarah Maxseiner; and (front row, from left) Ahan Shah, Sidharth Rampally, Rishabh Venketesh and Anoushka Chintada.

Back row, from left, are X-BOTS team members Nikhil Chintada, Satish Venkatesan and Sarah Maxseiner; and (front row, from left) Ahan Shah, Sidharth Rampally, Rishabh Venketesh and Anoushka Chintada. Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.

— A team of students mainly from Rocky Run Middle School is vying for an award for an app it created to help senior citizens. And area residents can help the students win by voting for their creation.

The team, called X-BOTS, competed in a FIRST Lego League (FLL) event in November and captured the first-place research award for its app. Now it’s the only team from Northern Virginia with the potential to win the FLL Global Innovation Award.

The X-BOTS team is competing against more than 300 others from all over the world. Voting began Feb. 11 and ends March 1. To vote, go to http://fllinnovation.firstlegoleague.org/medassist.

The team members are Rocky Run eighth-graders Nikhil Chintada, Satish Venkatesan, Rishabh Venketesh, Ahan Shah and Sarah Maxseiner; Rocky Run seventh-graders Sidharth Rampally and Nandin Padheriya; Greenbriar West Elementary fifth-grader Anoushka Chintada; and Thomas Jefferson High freshman Rishab Negi. Their coach is parent Nagesh Chintada.

Their innovative creation is MedAssist, a mobile and tablet app designed to help senior citizens remember to take their medications. It’s free and geared for Android devices and may be used by the elderly and their caregivers.

“The problem we were given was senior solutions, so we talked to Dr. Andrew Carle of GMU,” said Satish. Carle’s an expert in technologies for older adults, and he suggested the students create something to ease the lives of senior citizens and their caregivers.

“He said elderly people have problems taking the proper medication and doing it on time,” said Satish. “So the whole team worked on an app to help them; it took us a couple months.”

“If people are taking five or more medications per day, multiple times a day, chances are, they’re likely to forget one, take one at wrong time or overdose on some by accident,” said X-BOTS team coach Nagesh Chintada, parent of two of the team members. “The result could be serious consequences.”

Poor adherence to medication is a leading cause of hospitalization among senior citizens, so the students’ app not only helps senior citizens adhere to their medication schedules, but makes it a fun experience and, therefore, more likely to be used. MedAssist allows them to get medication reminders; connect with caregivers, family and friends via Google Talk and Skype 4; obtain emergency help; access entertainment; and score game-like points for keeping healthy.

“We believe we have a strong candidate for the Global Innovation Award and can win it if we can get the judges’ attention,” said Chintada. “Now, we just need as many people as possible to vote for us.”