Interview APP Founder – Yuri Refolo
Name Founder: Yuri Refolo
Name Company: Allart Softworks (Italy)
Name App: RLS App (Restless Legs Syndrome App)
Category App: Medical / Statistics App
Is the App created for a certain country/area or worldwide: Worldwide
App description: RLS App is an application that relates possible causes (food/diet, daily habits, physical and mental status) with symptoms and shows results on charts in order to find possible relations between them. It also provides a community and a news section to keep abreast on latest scientific developments.
Through this app you can monitor your activities and your physical and mental status, relate them and develop charts that propose a causal relationship between events based on statistical data. You can then enter your activities (possibly connecting via wearable devices like Fit band and similar ones) and the symptoms of the day, so as to verify which of the actions, foods, drugs or events may be relevant to the problem.
By inserting the activities in a database (private and encrypted, residing locally on the user’s device) it will be possible to create a data archive to be related and processed. It will be possible to check if some activities, foods or drugs can benefit or otherwise harm, limiting or increasing the symptoms.
Within the App there will be a community where you can anonymously exchange (if you want) your data to interpolate causal links with others: you could find, i.e., that a person of the same sex, height and weight, if she does physical activity in the afternoon and takes magnesium in an amount X, she tends to limit the symptoms. On the other hand, others may find in some foods, such as peanuts, a triggering source of the problem. There will also be a news section to stay up to date on the topic and other features to be defined once the first version has been released.
As Founder of this fantastic App, what was your motivation to create such an App?
YR: “My girlfriend suffers from RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome, or Willis-Ekbom Disease) and I need to do something to help her.
RLS causes crawling or creeping sensations in the feet, calves and thighs keeping the sleep impossible. Restless legs syndrome is also associated with involuntary jerking of the legs and arms, known as periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS). It is a debilitating pathology for which there are only symptomatic (and relatively effective) treatments.
At this very time there’s no official cure for RLS because its causes are mainly unknown.
It’s known to be related to dopamine, iron deficiency, magnesium deficiency, stress, coffee or alcohol abuse, poor sleep hygiene and so on, but none of these apparently is the real trigger. Someone could have perfect blood analysis, or drink no coffee at all and suffer from RLS, yet.
It’s mainly known that RLS is genetically transmissible, and it is often related to other syndrome like fibromyalgia, but the lack of evidence of a single (or multiple) symptom make hard to find certain causes links.”
Why should Users download this App?
YR: “With the power of current technology we are able to log almost every activity and status of a person, putting it on relations with symptoms and trying to find possible links.
RLS App will allow the user to log (almost) everything:
- Physical status
- Mental status
- Drugs and obviously a detailed log of symptoms, too:
- Name of the symptom
- Start / end time
- Involved limb
- Intensity (from 1 to 10)
- Additional notes
By inserting the activities in a database (private and encrypted, residing locally on the user’s device) it will be possible to create a data archive to be related and processed.It will be possible to check if some activities, foods or drugs can benefit or otherwise harm, limiting or increasing the symptoms.
Obviously, the analysis of data is to be entrusted only and exclusively to a specialized doctor and the developer assumes no liability whatsoever arising from incorrect deductions on the basis of the statistical data provided. Each user is responsible for their data entered and must evaluate a possible therapy with his doctor avoiding to draw incorrect conclusions on the basis of the statistical data proposed by the graphs themselves.
Within the App there will be a community where you can anonymously exchange (if you want) your data to interpolate causal links with others: you could find, i.e., that a person of the same sex, height and weight, if she does physical activity in the afternoon and takes magnesium in an amount X, she tends to limit the symptoms.
What are the advantages compared to other similar Apps?
YR: “At this very time there is only a German App, available only in Germany, that lacks the statistical part, btw. RLS App allows users to do some sort of “Big Data Analysis on themselves” and to build an enormous dataset for analysts and researchers. Its charts will help the patient, too, to identify at a glance what kind of food/activity to avoid.”
Can you tell something about the process, challenges, hurdles and time spent from the moment you start (The Idea) till the moment you launched the App at the AppStore / Google Play?
YR: “The chart section is the toughest one. It’s really hard to try to show to the end user that amount of data in a simple and understandable way.
I have the scientific support of Prof. Mauro Manconi, head of Neurology at the Neurocenter of Italian Switzerland, head of the Sleep and Epilepsy Center at the same Institute and Professor of Neurology at the University of Bern, a RLS worldwide expert.”
Once you launched the App in the Appstore / Google Play, what did you do to promote this App to your target audience (User group)? Do you think Applepies (as worldwide rating and reviewing Online App Magazine) can have a certain role in this?
YR: “Surely websites such as Applepies are an excellent way of promotion. I also maintain my social channels on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and I try to build a community on Telegram and on our Facebook group, mainly because the goal of this App is to help people with the same problem so having a growing community is vital for us. I also do some campaign on Facebook and Google.”
You as a visionary person, what is your view on the new technologies of the digital smartphone (App) world. Do you think that within 1 to 5 years Apps will be indispensable?
YR: “Not in 5 years but today! The disruptive tech tsunami is already here and cannot be avoided. We must understand its implications and ride the wave! Many jobs will be wiped off and will drown while others will emerge as the wave passes by. It’s fundamental to keep the eyes on the horizon and concentrate on fundamental changes like 5g, ANN (Artificial Neural Networks), Machine Learning, AI, quantum computing, block chain and be prepared to say goodbye to “old” technologies like desktop monitors or offline household appliances. Global IoT is merging with Augmented/Virtual Reality and the daily life as we know in 2019 will be felt as prehistoric in a few years. New jobs and possibilities will arise from the dust of the old world: it’s up to ourselves to keep the revolution ethical and sustainable.”
Are you currently (still) looking for investments or funds to finalize or optimize your App?
YR: “Yes, I’m conducting a GoFundMe campaign and I am looking for sponsors / angel investors, too.
Any business related to rest and legs could be interested to fund the project: from mattress manufacturers to supplement manufacturers. A considerable amount of time and work is required for the development of this App: I am a software developer and I can manage all aspects of development but I need funds to be able to devote full time.
The development time of such an App is estimated in about a year, considering design,
production, beta testing, staging, deploy. The financial support for the development of the first version of the App is essential for the project to be followed continuously and effectively. All supporters will be cited in the App’s credits.”
What is the business model of the App (how does the App earns money?) Think of advertisements, premium subscriptions in the App etc?
YR: “The App will be free and open source for all users. Everyone will be able to use freely it to monitor his/her RLS symptoms.
The App will have ads and in-App subscriptions to remove ads and to buy extra features like online encrypted storage, advanced analysis and data comparison with community users.
I’m thinking about a desktop client, too, to manage data locally. I’m still a little uncertain about it.”
Last but not least is there anything you want to recommend other Creators/Founders?
YR: “Solve a world problem and your personal problems will be solved.”