Wireless Institute announces winners in Mobile Application Development Contest

by William G. Gilroy

Wireless Institute

The University of Notre Dame’s Wireless Institute has announced the winners of its first Mobile Application Development Contest.

Mobile solutions for challenges in energy, environment and sustainability was the theme of the contest, which was organized by the Institute in collaboration with Notre Dame’s Energy Center and Academic Technologies Lab. University students, faculty and alumni were invited to design and implement innovative solutions using mobile technologies. Almost 50 participants registered for the event, ultimately leading to seven application finalists competing using platforms such as iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets.

“The mobile application industry continues to build momentum and the growth potential is tremendous,” said Christian Poellabauer Wireless Institute member and contest organizer. “Participating members of the Notre Dame community were invited to showcase their ingenuity, while addressing important current challenges.”

“GreenDrive” received the $10,000 first prize in the contest. Shu Liu and Wei Zhang, computer science and engineering graduate students, developed an Android application titled GreenDrive, which helps users track their vehicle carbon footprint and provides some suggestions to reduce the carbon emission. By utilizing the GPS API in the Android phone, the application keeps records of their speed and location data in the background to decide whether or not the user is driving. This data is stored safely in the remote cloud by communicating with Web services. With the data in hand, users can browse their driving history charts daily, weekly and monthly.

“BusMinder” won the $5,000 second prize. Computer science and engineering graduate student James Gentile, undergraduate computer science and engineering student Mark Easley, physics graduate student Cameron Harvey and biological sciences graduate student Samuel Rund developed an Android application called BusMinder. The BusMinder application provides riders with the live location of public transportation buses. The application consists of a bus beacon/transponder that goes in the bus to track its location and a user application that displays the route of each bus as well as its current position.

“Locate Green” and “RideShare” tied for the $2,500 third prize.

Brian Kachmark, a junior computer science and engineering major, and Andrew Plaska, a junior in the College of Science, developed Locate Green, a Web-based community. The motivation behind it was the creation of an environmentally-friendly society emanating from the everyday decisions we make. The opportunities to make eco-friendly decisions can often remain hidden from the general public. Locate Green uncovers these opportunities and makes them readily available by providing a platform for users to find environmentally-friendly locations, as well as uploading other locations they have found for the community to enjoy.

Computer science and engineering graduate student Dirk Van Bruggen created the RideShare application based on the motivation that many students at Notre Dame live in the same areas and all drive their own vehicles to campus every day. RideShare is an application that allows users to advertise open seats in their car and look for rides to and from different locations.

The Mobile Application Development Contest was sponsored by the Motorola Foundation (through an “Innovation Generation Grant”) and Notre Dame. The Motorola Foundation’s goal is to engage students in a corporate-led initiative to cultivate widespread literacy in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through educational programs, community activities and hands-on competitions, which is well aligned with Notre Dame’s mission.

Planning for the second annual “Mobilize Your Ideas” contest, which will address the theme of mobile applications for the greater good, is now underway.