ANN ARBOR, Mich — An app featuring a bronze fossil floor at the main entrance of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor allows patients to take a virtual prehistoric journey.

The free iPad app “Foozel” was launched last month under a partnership between the University of Michigan Health System and the University of Michigan Credit Union.

In the app, the fossil floor breaks and transforms into a starry sky. It leads the user through games to track down fossils and repair the floor. There’s also a coloring book to accompany the app. Both 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. Sebastian Martinez, a student in the College of Engineering, came up with the app idea, and Malcolm MacLachlan, a School of Information master’s student, was responsible for the app development. Others were involved as well.

MacLachlan says in a statement that the app was “a unique opportunity to serve a community that is wholesome and positive.”

Renken says she’s “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.”

Foozel was made possible by a $342,000 pledge from University of Michigan Credit Union to benefit Mott and another hospital. Part of the gift was used for the “Ancient Arb I” bronze fossil floor that was created by artist Michele Oka Doner.

Associated Press