MARSHFIELD, Mo. – Marshfield teen Anna DeRossett is getting some well-deserved recognition after designing a life-changing app that helps nonverbal people easily communicate with others.
With the push of a button, users are able to choose words or phrases on the app for the device to say aloud. The app also allows customization of responses, so users are able to delete unused phrases and add new ones.
Anna, a freshman at Marshfield High School, got the idea after her computer science teacher assigned the task of creating an app to help others. She thought of helping nonverbal individuals because her grandfather had a stroke and developed issues communicating before he passed.
The app doesn’t have a name and can’t be downloaded yet, as it is still in the beta testing phase. However, Anna is able to use the app and has already watched it benefit her grandmother, who also has occasional issues communicating after having cancer removed from her tongue.
Anna said she’s not looking to make money from the app, but she did really enjoy the project and hopes to eventually achieve a postsecondary degree in Computer Science.
The class used the MIT App Inventor to bring Anna’s idea to life. The website includes tutorials, classes and even collaboration opportunities between creators and inventors.
Anna is meeting with the Webster County Health Department in the near future to discuss her app and its potential impact. For other teens who may have an interest in chasing an idea or inventing something, Anna said this:
“Find people who can help support you and just have at it. Make sure you have fun while doing it.”