UPDATE: Winners of AppJam Winter 2012 were announced March 6. Congratulations to Team Socially Awkward Anteaters for their app "AwkTalk," which facilitates in-person meetings where two users participate in a timed topic discussion based on their preferences, then rate each other’s social skills through the app’s prescribed categories. Stay tuned for full coverage of the latest AppJam tournament.
Bren School students build apps in one week
Eight teams of Bren School students with varying levels of programming experience — ranging from proficient to none — created fully functional mobile applications or "apps" in just one week, as part of the inaugural ICS Student Council AppJam Tournament.
The challenge: Create a mobile app that will improve the lives of UC Irvine students academically, professionally and socially.
The results: Apps ranging from the grand prize winner, “TimeToGo,” which alerts users of their appointments at a time appropriate to their location; to second-place finisher “ZotPark,” which enables users to easily navigate the UCI parking system; and third-place winner “Groups,” a way for students to keep track of their social and academic circles.
“The ICS Student Council thought AppJam would be a great way for students to learn or master coding skills while gaining real-life team project experience,” said ICSSC project management coordinator Nikola Metulev, a fourth-year Computer Science and Engineering major. “In honor of CSEdWeek, we also encouraged participants to build an app that would be appealing to middle and high school students."
The competition kicked off Nov. 14, and the judging event, which featured presentations and demos, took place Nov. 22. Judges included John Libby, cofounder of MobilityWare, Farsheed Atef, chief technology officer and cofounder of Drumbi, and faculty members Michael Franz, Dan Frost and Shannon Tauro. Student peers also participated in the voting process.
“The entire tournament was amazing,” Tauro said. “My fellow judges and I were very impressed by what Bren School students were able to learn and accomplish during a very short and busy time in the quarter.”
According to Metulev, most teams plan to add features to their apps before posting them to the Android market. Select apps may also be available for download from the AppJam website in January. ICSSC plans to organize the next AppJam Tournament during winter quarter.
FALL 2011 APPJAM WINNERS:
Prize: $500 and lunch at Google
Members: Adithya Gajulapally (lead), Yuen Hei Lam, Kevin Lee, Jared Leung and Alexis Hoshino
App description: Ever wonder how long it will take to get to class from your current location on campus? TimeToGo is an Android app sensitive to user location when issuing calendar reminders. The app also provides a searching capability and the ability to see friends’ schedules. Future goals for the team include implementing a tool on the app that takes into account multiple means of transportation.
Team comment: “We learned to accommodate for everyone's busy schedules by holding meetings through Skype and Facebook, rather than meeting in person. Another valuable lesson this project reinforced was to let no one's talents go to waste. Even though we are all coming from different programming skill levels, we all wanted to contribute to the best of our abilities for the sake of our common goal.”
Prize: $300 and Google bags
Members: Chelsea Clark (lead), Derek Liang, Kevin Jonaitis, Myron Lozano and Delian Petrov
App description: Designed to help students navigate the UCI parking system, ZotPark allows users to look up valid locations to park based on their permit type. ZotPark can also determine and display extra parking lots and structures available to the user, depending on time of day. Additionally, the app provides information about parking lots and permit types, as well as navigation capabilities. “When I was new to campus, I spent 20 minutes driving up and down Peltason looking for Lot 17A and no one could help me find it,” said Clark. “But this app can.”
Team comment: “We met every day for two to three hours. We had little to no coding experience, but we pulled through with research, hard work and adrenaline.”
Prize: $100 and Android watches
Members: Marc Touchette (lead), Richard Creencia, Alex Taylor, Won Kim and Weiwei Jiang
App description: Allows users to create and join study or social groups, and makes the information available to them from any Android phone. Within Groups, users can access information like name, email and phone numbers. “It’s much more compact and discreet than Facebook because it doesn’t carry your life story,” said Touchette.
Team comment: “This application could convince middle school students that studying computing is cool because it will allow them to keep track of their groups, too. With more and more kids using smart phones and no longer memorizing numbers, this app will allow them to easily keep track of their friends' numbers, or look up the numbers of their friends from a different phone.”
Members: Nithin Jilla (lead), Matthew Ito, Quan Nguyen, Daryl Alfaro and Ashwin Amit
App description: Peter’s Organizer is a calendar Android app that lists events specific to the Bren School. Events are categorized as academic, social or professional, and could be added by students either through their phone or a web page. Users may filter events by category.
Team comment: “Many Bren School students find out about jobs through events such as company visits. We wanted an easier way for students to find about these school events, so we thought this calendar would be useful. We then decided to expand this idea to include academic events and social events as well."
Members: Orson Teodoro (lead), Peter Cao, Justin Krakes and Sohrob Raja
App description: Metis functions as an interactive scheduling tool, allowing users to coordinate their schedule with friends, family and fellow students through a visual timeline feature. Users may sync their schedules with another user through the merge feature.
Team comment: “The app was inspired by our need to coordinate free time to get together to work on the app.”
Members: Johnson Liu (lead), Zhihang Xiao, Alexander Richberg, Jonathan Stroud and Pramodh Gopal
App description: ICS Earth was developed to help Bren School students locate professors and events on campus. The app allows users to search through a list of professors by name, phone number, office location or department, and through a list of events by name, date, time, location or category. The application also includes a campus map as a reference point.
Team comment: “We really wanted to emphasize simplicity.”
Members: Matthew Thornton (lead), Hongde Jin, Ryan Sullivant, Irvin Huang and Phillip Huang
App description: Allows students to input their classes and information/assignments pertaining to each class.
Team comment: “Networking with our peers was one of the best parts of this project since we are now able to call upon each other for help or to hang out.”
Members: Tri Pham (lead), Chris Miliotti, Brett Buford, Ki Lee, Kelly Yin and Siripen Pongpaichet
App description: Displays university activities to users. The activities can be user-created through the application and generated from RSS feeds around UCI. Users may view and join upcoming events, and invite other users to the event.
Team comment: “Creating an app in one week was significantly more difficult than expected, but worthwhile.”— Reported by Courtney Hamilton
— Photos by Peter Huynh