App offers a walk on the wild side for Mott Children's Hospital visitors

Foozel floor, CS Mott Children's Hospital

UMSI master's student Malcolm MacLachlan's Foozel app has people looking down--in excitement.

“Mama, look at the dinosaurs!” exclaimed three-year-old Avery Holdsworth as she awaited her cardiology appointment at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. An open-heart surgery survivor, Avery is no stranger to the hospital, but at this visit, Foozel, a new iPad application and coordinating coloring book, is keeping her—and her parents—occupied.

Launched in November 2014 thanks to a partnership between the University of Michigan Credit Union (UMCU) and the University of Michigan Health System, Foozel takes users on a virtual journey from the bronze fossil floor showcased at the main entrance of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital back in time to the prehistoric era of the dinosaurs. Through the app’s adventure, the fossil floor breaks and transforms into a starry sky and leads the user through several games to track down fossils, repair the floor and return to present day.

“The app is a great way to pass the time during what can be a tense waiting period,” said Doug Holdsworth, Avery’s father. “As a bonus, there’s a coloring book that goes with it, keeping her occupied and actually excited to be here.”

Foozel Team members Malcolm MacLachlan, Marian Perez and Jessica Krcmarik.

Both the app and coloring book were designed and developed by University of Michigan students and alumni. Sarah Renken, a Stamps School of Art & Design student, is the artist behind the coloring book, while Sebastian Martinez, a student in the College of Engineering, came up with the idea for the app. Malcolm MacLachlan, a School of Information master’s student, was responsible for the app development with the help of graphic designers Jessica Krcmarik and Marian Perez, 2012 alumnae of the Stamps School of Art & Design. Krcmarik also designed the coloring book’s exterior while Perez, creative director for Foozel and UMCU’s graphic designer, oversaw the product development.

“It is really amazing that I had the chance to work on Foozel,” said MacLachlan. “This was a unique opportunity to serve a community that is wholesome and positive.”

Renken added, “I have always been interested in how art and health are interwoven and this project allowed me to give back by providing a creative outlet for pediatric patients. It was a wonderful experience”

Foozel was made possible by a three-year pledge of $342,000 from UMCU to benefit the C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospitals. Part of the gift has been used to support the “Ancient Arb I” bronze fossil floor showcased at the main entrance of the hospital created by internationally acclaimed artist Michele Oka Doner. The bronze, terrazzo, mother-of-pearl and shell inlay has become a showpiece in the hospital lobby and a must-see for patients.

“The University of Michigan Credit Union was able to bring the Foozel app to life with the ongoing support and facilitation of the University of Michigan’s Business Engagement Center,” said Perez. “As a U-M alumna, I am particularly honored to be part of this project and to have been able to collaborate with a number of incredible people to make the magical world of Foozel come to life.”

Foozel can be downloaded for free in the App Store or by visiting www.mottchildren.org/umcufoozel.

This article was written by Amanda Holdsworth and appears on the U-M Business Engagement Center; reposted with permission.

Photos courtesy of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and U-M Business Engagement Center.

Posted on December 23, 2014.