Dubai: After a year of research and development, Kunal Valrani, 15, has launched his own free mobile app game, Hungry Harry, to address the issue of malnutrition and promote healthy eating.
The student of the American School of Dubai spent 365 days coding, working with a nutritionist and enlisting advice from a website company to build an app that would make a difference in society.
According to the World Food Programme (wfp.org), approximately 795 million people in the world suffer from malnutrition. Unicef statistics reveal that nearly half of all deaths in children under five are attributed to under-nutrition — a form of malnutrition — which translates into nearly three million young lives lost each year.
“Since a young age, I’ve had an interest in Computer Science, Maths and Physics which formed the basis for my passion for engineering. I realised last year that engineering is more than just building ‘cool stuff’, but rather about using these key skills to address pressing issues that we face in society,” said Valrani.
The objective of the game is to manoeuvre a character named Harry around the screen, while collecting healthy foods and avoiding all unhealthy ones. Before starting each level, all nutrition facts for each food type are displayed, providing the gamer with the required information to gather the ‘good’ and ignore the ‘bad’ foods. Gamers can even select from vegetarian and non-vegetarian food preferences.
“The world’s malnutrition stats are alarming, hence I wanted to create my own game targeting this disease — to raise awareness of this issue and promote a habit of healthy eating,” he added.
The Hungry Harry app is available as a free download via Google Play Store on Android and Apple App Store on iOS.
“I would like to continue using my skills to build apps and games that are for social good,” added Kunal. My next game might focus on agriculture as I’m currently exploring Hydroponics, which is the method of growing plants without soil,” said Valrani.