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Michigan dad invents app to limit kids’ use of mobile devices Comment

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Michigan dad invents app to limit kids’ use of mobile devices Comment


GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A Forest Hills father’s passion for prescribing time children spend watching screens led to the development of a telephone app.

Tim Smock partnered with engineering corporations at Grand Valley State University to expand “Test four Time,” a smartphone app for Android. The app limits how an awful lot kids use positive apps, making them solution math issues in Test 4 Time before they are able to play their favored games.

The app became downloadable at the Google Play store for Android users on July 1, and has due to the fact received at least 50 downloads up to now, Smock said.

“I desired to make a few type of dent in the problem of display screen time and kids getting wrapped up in that, at the same time as improving their mastery of math data,” Smock said.

The concept in the back of the app got here from almost every day whilst Smock waited for the inevitable question from his six-12 months-old son – if he ought to play video games on the Wii.

It changed into summertime in 2011 and Smock felt uneasy that his son, Braden, continually wanted to play video games, so he decided to come up with a gadget to make him “earn” display time. He wrote out 20 math questions that he made Braden whole before he becomes capable of spending an hour on the gaming system.

After the paper stack of spoke back math questions grew, Smock’s entrepreneurial spirit made him understand an opportunity to automate and patent his concept.


Smock’s initial prototype did not start off as an app, it started out as a container that plugged into the TV and Wii console and let his son earn time through answering math questions. If his time was up, it’d shut down the game.

When Smock connected with engineers at Grand Valley, they made the concept to show his idea into an app rather than a hardware device and make it the issue of a senior capstone class in GVSU’s School of Computer Science.

From there, the carried out Medical Device Institute at GVSU ran with the idea, finally supporting Smock finalize the app this is to be had inside the Google Play safe today after the organization helped increase it for six months.

“We turned a study room project into a real industrial product,” said Brent Nowak, the founding government director of the Institute. “There were masses of people involved, but it suggests that (not only enterprise or hospital systems) but the entire community can tap into university resources.”

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The implemented Medical Device Institute became founded through an effort led with the aid of Nowak about 12 months in the past and is a non-academic unit inside GVSU. The program is financially sustainable via outside funding so that they can move at the tempo of enterprise, Nowak stated.

“I’ve simply used companies and contractors the entire way and worked brilliant with (the carried out Medical Device Institute),” Smock said. “I haven’t written a line of code myself. But it changed into so amusing to peer the imaginative and prescient I had to be replicated.”

The app may be downloaded for a seven-day free trial and expenses $1.99 in step with a month. Parents can select which apps they want to be managed by using Test four Time. There also are settings to govern how superior math issues are, from a kindergarten thru the sixth-grade stage.

The default of the app is sixty questions responded earns an hour of display screen time, which can be “saved up” at most of two hours. Parents can exchange the quantity of time questions earn.

“This is supposed to praise what (kids) are doing for the duration of the day inside the school room,” Smock said. “Time outside of the classroom may be just as vital, but there are so many distractions.”

Smock nonetheless desires to pursue introducing the set-up container that would manipulate display screen time on TV and gaming consoles to the market, but it is a longer technique, he said. Right now, he also has the intention of adding extra subjects apart from math to Test 4 Time and probably including SAT and ACT prep questions for older kids.

“If you do not have children you don’t (recognize) that little feeling of being uncomfortable with seeing their face buried in the display,” Smock said. “This makes parents experience a little better about children grabbing a pill.”
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Beatrice Nelson

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