IEEE-USA InFocus

Mobile Apps to Help People in Unsafe Situations & Protect Private Information Win Top Prizes in App-E-Feat Contest

By Chris McManes

An application to help people in an unsafe or confrontational situation and one to keep an Android phone clean and optimized won the top prizes in the App-E-Feat mobile app development contest sponsored by IEEE-USA.

The winners, announced in late June, received an Apple iPad Air and will have the opportunity to work with an IEEE mentor to help them develop their technology skills. Contestants fell into two categories: 13-to-17-years-old and 18-and-over.

�Helping Hands,� submitted by Austin Rawlins, 13, of Jasper, Ind., won the top prize in the 13-17-year-old division. It is designed to store emergency contact information and to send an �I need help� message and location information to those contacts when trouble arises.

Rawlins conceived the app � which has been developed � after he and his mother were stranded on the side of a road for eight hours, didn’t know exactly where they were and had spotty cell phone reception. He said they didn’t call 911 because, �We did not feel we were in enough danger to call.�

Clean Droid, developed by Jude John Tony of Kochi, Kerala, India, took first place in the 18-and-over category. It is designed to help Android phone owners optimize the care of their phones, save space and help boost performance and speed. It strives to protect owners’ private information by daily auto cleaning of such things as browser and search history, cache, chat records and temporary data on sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram.

MobiLearn, by Jeremy Nathan of Ashburn, Va., won second place in the 13-17 category. This app, when developed, will allow teachers and students who have difficulty meeting in a physical location to connect by mobile phone with classes, assignments, notes and grades easily accessible.

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Diabreathometer, by Kavya Kopparapu, 13, of Herndon, Va., won third place. This app, when developed, will be able to diagnose diabetes and alert sufferers when to take insulin.

In the 18+ division, Cartwheels by Jack Cahn of New York, Benjamin Attal of Brooklyn, N.Y., and two others took second place. It provides health information on urban mobile food vendors and allows patrons to see menus and rate food.

Third place went to Tour-De-City by David Cahn, Victoria Greene and Sweyn Venderbush, all of New York, and Severyn Kozak of Ridgewood, N.Y. This app helps reduce pollution by designing biking, walking or public transportation tours of Boston and New York City.

A $250 Amazon gift card went to second-place finishers; third-place contestants were sent a $150 Amazon gift card. The six top winners also received IEEE-USA laptop bags and numerous giveaways.

Contestants in the 13-17-year-old category were judged on a description of their app. Those 18 and older were judged on how well they wrote the actual app code.

I was quite impressed with the quality of submissions, said Aqeel Zaman, CEO and founder of Flynxx and one of the judges.  Most astounding was the age of some of the participants. The ability for them to understand global challenges, contextualize it and yet come up with simple, intuitive solutions to what might be daunting problems was electrifying.

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The App-E-Feat contest, which launched during U.S. Engineers Week on 18 February and closed on 19 May, was designed to encourage people to use mobile apps to help solve a local or global problem and positively impact people’s lives.

The contest was part of a greater initiative IEEE is sponsoring to match members with nonprofits around the world to develop apps for the advancement of humanity. It is IEEE’s contribution to the Clinton Global Initiative, which convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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