Fourteen-year-old Bradley Rothbaum has already created a mobile app that has attracted national recognition.
He didn’t have to go far for the source that inspired this achievement.
He developed the app in response to his own health dilemma.
Bradley was diagnosed with cancer in March 2017.
The condition affected the chewing muscles in his mouth, and within weeks he began treatment.
The radiation treatment caused him to develop sores in his mouth, which made it difficult to speak.
So, he began texting and writing on a white board to communicate — but found those methods to be inconvenient.
“One of my main frustrations during treatment was the inability to speak,” Bradley said. “I turned this frustration into the app, Speak Up.”
He started working on this program last fall.
The concept behind Speak Up is to help those who have difficulty speaking to better communicate their needs, especially inside a health care setting.
The program uses voice automation to verbally translate a typed message to the receiver.
The app is already equipped with a list of greetings, requests or comments that are preset and can be sent with a push of a button.
For messages not already stored on the app, a user can preset additional ones for convenience, as well.
“You’re still telling the app what to do, but instead of typing in everything, it’s already there for you,” the Land O’ Lakes youth explained.
Speak Up enables the user to type a custom-made message or text a regular message, with both options providing voice automation.
And, not only is it for smartphones, but can be downloaded onto tablets and laptops, too.
Bradley decided to enter his project into the Invention Convention at his school, Academy at the Lakes, on Collier Parkway in Land O’ Lakes.
Along with a fellow schoolmate, Bradley earned his way into the Florida Invention Convention. There he was among 150 students statewide, all displaying their various creations.
“I made it to the Florida state level and then there were only four of us that moved on to nationals,” he stated.
For the national level, Bradley got to travel to The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan.
There, his work was showcased among those of more than 500 students from around the country.
He said he enjoyed the experience that resulted from much determination.
Like any invention, this one had its trials and errors, Bradley said.
However, what eased the process was receiving assistance from his friend in Ohio, as well as his dad, Howard.
As a physician who practices internal medicine, Howard comes across sick people on a regular basis.
Yet, when his own son became a patient needing help, it was a tough situation, he admitted.
“Everything I learned in medical school and beyond is what we had to use to navigate the whirlwind,” Howard said.
His admiration for his son has only grown through this experience, noting that Bradley is “probably the strongest person I’ve ever met.”
Bradley said that creating the app was a therapeutic experience for him because it took his mind off his health issues and redirected it toward helping others in need.
He is currently preparing to enter his first year of high school at Academy at the Lakes, and is in a much healthier condition, thanks to treatment.
He offers this message of hope to other sick kids: “Persevere and you can get through this.”
With a few more kinks to work out, Bradley has yet to officially launch Speak Up. Upon release, it will be available for download on Android phones and iPhones, as well as tablets.
Published June 26, 2019
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