Nitya Ayyagari, age 17
Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, CA
Parkinson’s disease is the leading cause of disability worldwide. I observed the debilitating symptoms that come with the disease while volunteering at my local memory care center, namely Freezing of Gait (FoG), a condition that occurs when patients with Parkinson’s have trouble balancing that may lead to falls and injuries. Cepha is a real-time cueing aid for people with FoG. The app uses a machine learning algorithm that predicts FoG about five seconds before it happens with over 90% accuracy. People can personalize their cue, choosing auditory (metronome beat) or vibrotactile (vibration on Apple Watch). Research shows cueing drastically reduces FoG. FoG leads to injuries and fall-related illnesses in 70% of patients. There is no other real-time cueing device or app on the market. Cepha is unobtrusive and helps patients with Parkinson’s fit in, while assisting their families in managing the disease. Continuous cueing for FoG helps people get used to cueing.