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Youngest Innovation Voucher recipients

11 May 2017

Two school pupils have become the youngest recipients of an SFC Innovation Voucher for their walking app.

Two school pupils have become the youngest recipients of an SFC Innovation Voucher for their walking app.

Mari-Ann Ganson and Ellora James, both studying at Wick High School, developed Envirocache – a mobile app that aims to “gamify” walks for children into a nature treasure hunt. They recognised that the rise in childhood obesity is closely linked with increasing use of technology and were passionate about putting that technology to a healthier purpose.

Envirocache users can upload walking routes with plants and wildlife and facts about them tagged along the route. Children and their families can then walk the routes, trying to locate the plants and wildlife like a nature treasure hunt. The game will have virtual medals and badges for achievements and leader boards as incentives to get children outside, active and educated. Ellora and Mari-Ann were looking to develop their app further so that they could take it to market and were matched by Interface with the School of Computing Science and Digital Media at Robert Gordon University in a project funded by an SFC Innovation Voucher.

The university has helped develop the app with primary-school aged children in mind and improve functionality in remote areas. Ellora and Mar-Ann have also gained skills in development, testing and project management.

Envirocache has since become a registered company – with Ellora and Mari-Ann having to wait until their 16th birthdays as the minimum age for a director of a company in Scotland is 16.