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Computing students at Bath College create app for children with diabetes

Alex Bradley, David Forster and Jacky Cheung

Higher education students are helping the Royal United Hospitals Bath to develop an app for children with diabetes.

Alex Bradley, David Forster and Jacky Cheung are leading the project and studying for a BSc in applied computing at Bath College.

They are working with senior dietitian Anna Carling to digitise paper tests and adapt these for a functional, working app.

Children will be able to learn how much carbohydrate their food contains, and how much insulin they need to take as a result.

Alex, David and Jacky are all in the final year of their course. After studying at Bath College for three years, they will be awarded with an honours degree from the University of Bath.

Jacky, 22, said: “We’ve built up our skills by applying ourselves to different programming and development techniques through the years.

“The app starts off with a menu and, depending on the age of the child, they can pick from different tests. For example, year one pupils will be shown a piece of food and asked if it has carbohydrate, but year six pupils need to work out how much carbohydrate is in the food.

“The idea is to help them learn how to manage their diabetes from an early age by using something that is fun and interactive.”

The app, which has been in development since January, is currently being tested with young children at local diabetes clinics. After receiving feedback, the group will make final changes and present their findings as part of a college assessment.

David, 23, said: “I feel like I’m learning more by working for a client. We’ve been given objectives, which we need to meet, and we’re challenging ourselves as a result.

“It’s been good to work as a team, rather than working alone on a job. In the workplace we’ll be working in teams, so those communication skills will benefit us in the future.”

Alex, 22, said: “The best thing is the independence, the fact that we’re able to go out and meet the client and get information from them.

“We’re working directly with them and organising ourselves, so it’s more like real working life. I’ve really enjoyed it, so I wouldn’t mind working in project management in the future.”

Course leader Paul Jackson, from Bath College, said: “The team have created an amazing app for the Royal United Hospitals Bath. “We really pride ourselves on projects like these. Our applied computing degree courses have a great track record of creating solutions for local industries and organisations.

“The students get a lot out of these projects, and actually working with outside clients means our graduates are ready for the modern workplace, with an enviable set of practical skills in a wide variety of software and hardware platforms.”

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