In the News

May 13, 2013

Orange County Register

Applauding App Artists

UC Irvine faculty and students have developed several mobile device applications, either on their own or for competition. The university has sponsored two “AppJam” contests that challenge teams of students to create an app in two weeks. The latest AppJam, which took place in April, tasked 21 teams to make an app that would benefit people with mild to severe autism.

Here’s a sampling of apps made by UCI students and faculty:

MATH ALGEBRA SOLVER CALCULATOR

Details: This app helps students solve algebra equations. It has had 12,000 downloads since 2011. Sales have decreased recently due to more apps on the market.

Device: Android

Price: 99 cents

Creator: Jeremy Gilbert, a computer science student and founder of Verge Applications, a mobile app business he started in 2010. “I wanted to build an app that would look nice on my resume to eventually get myself a paid internship,” he said. “Since I only took one programming class and my programming skills at the time were limited, I decided to build something that came easy to me.” For Gilbert, that was math.

HYGIENE HELPER

Details: This app for high-functioning teens with autism spectrum disorders gives them reminders to do hygiene-related tasks such as combing their hair and brushing their teeth. The user can check off things they accomplish and track how well they do. “It’s a lot more comfortable to get instruction from an app than mom,” the app’s designer said.

Device: Android

Price: Free

Creator: Gillian Hayes, professor of informatics and director of technology research for The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Southern California. “I hadn’t written code in years. It was starting to bug me,” she said. “It’s a creative, wonderful process to make a piece of software. To me, it’s a craft.”

LIFE BUOY

Details: The app was designed for disaster situations. For example, if someone with bronchitis was trapped in a building on the 15th floor, they could use the app to get advice from their doctor. The physician would have all of the patient’s medical records and could even prescribe treatment. Device: Apple (not yet available for download)

Creators: Matthew Chan, Lita Patel, Bryan Lam, Peggy Bui, Joe Hanson and Drake Tetreault.

IMLOST

Details: If an autistic person gets lost, they press a button on the app and it sends a message and a GPS location to their designated contact person. Device: Apple (not yet available for download)

Creators: Sivan Goldstein, Timothy Chan, Lucinda Lim, Derek Omuro and Ramsha Qasim. The team put in somewhere between 60 and 100 hours to create the app, Goldstein said.
Applauding App Artists


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Media interested in interviewing ICS faculty, students or alumni should contact Matt Miller at (949) 824-1562 or matt.miller@uci.edu