Psychology's Marc Berman wins UChicago App Challenge for ReTUNE, will improve daily pedestrian experience

August 9, 2017 (last updated on November 21, 2019)

Marc Berman, Assistant Professor of Psychology, along with Kathryn Schertz, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology, are part of the UChicago App Challenge summer 2017 cohort winners. Their app, ReTUNE (Restoring Through Urban Nature Experience), enhances urbanites well-being through their daily pedestrian experience. The app will combat the increased stress, worse physical and mental health, and decreased life expectancy that plague urban dwellers by mapping walking routes based on their "restoration scores." These scores will be calculated using the naturalness qualities of a route as well as factors such as length of walk, number of road crossings, and safety of the neighborhood. Berman's research has shown that maximizing exposure to natural elements while walking through the city can lead to improved memory, attention, and mood—according to the ReTUNE project pitch, the app will allow urbanites to enjoy these positive effects while accomplishing their daily errands. User inputs will allow walks to be tailored to a pedestrian's needs and preferences.  

I believe this project has the ability to truly impact the daily lives of Chicagoans (and all city dwellers) and I am excited to bring it from an idea to an actual tool.
-Marc Berman, Assistant Professor of Psychology

App Challenge developers will be exploring how Dr. Berman’s environmental data of Chicago can be used to suggest an optimally “natural” route between two locations. Berman is also a fellow of the UChicago Computation Institute, a member of the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology and Human Behavior, and affiliated faculty of the MA in Computational Social Science.  

To read read more about the project, visit the UChicago App Challenge website.