Six Cal Poly students came out with top prizes in an Android App Contest sponsored by Intuit last quarter.
The contest was the final project for professor David Janzen’s computer science class where 33 students teamed up to produce 17 applications to compete for first place.
“The goal of the contest was primarily to motivate the students, but also to reward the students who did an exceptional job,” Janzen said.
A panel of judges, including Janzen and representatives from Intuit — the software company known for making TurboTax — and GOGGI — a relatively new company specializing in mobile applications — ranked the applications based on creativity and quality.
“This quarter we went more with the second criteria (quality),” Janzen said. “The winner’s applications didn’t crash, they were intuitive and met an important need.”
Henrietta Wong, a computer science senior, and Adriel Fuad, a computer science junior, authored the “Where’s My Book?” application, receiving first place and Motorola Xooms from Intuit.
“The application is a way to keep a library of books that you have loaned out,” Fuad said. “If you lend someone a book, you can see who you checked the book out to and even send a reminder to them.”
Wong said the app is geared toward students and the niche of people who like to read, especially in a college setting.
“It is ideal for students who are borrowing textbooks as well as for those readers who haven’t switched over to a Kindle yet,” Wong said.
Both Fuad and Wong did not expect to win first place, but were confident they would make the top three.
“Of course we were hoping to win, but we definitely didn’t expect it,” Wong said. “From here, we have multiple options to expand what we have already done.”
Second place in the contest went to Jeffrey Brown, a business administration senior, and Zach Negrey, a computer science junior, with their “SLO Bus Tracker” application.
“It is an app to track buses in (San Luis Obispo) as well as to provide scheduling,” Negrey said.
The two said they came up with the idea on a whim as they were standing in line to pitch ideas to Janzen.
“We just started talking about it, and I don’t really know exactly how we came up with it,” Brown said.
The map application shows live traffic data that is also available on the SLO Transit website. The application also provides the bus schedule with a unique feature; it allows the user to switch routes.
With 150 downloads to date, the duo is planning to polish up the application and re-release it with new features.
“We are thinking of adding more stuff,” Negrey said. “Like notifications of when the bus is close and (estimated times of arrival).”
The pair is also looking to expand to other cities, Brown said.
Third place went to computer science seniors Brian Norman and Russell Mezzetta with “Roomie Tab.”
The application allows housemates to track how much money is owed for expenses. It also allows roommates to upload pictures of receipts and track payments.
With the prizes offered by Intuit, Fuad said he was grateful for the company’s generosity as well as his instructor for the opportunity.
Janzen said the contest is an excellent opportunity for students to practice writing applications and get experience.
“What I love is that students have to write something that the world will see,” Janzen said. “Rarely do students build something that will live on after the course.”
Janzen said Cal Poly students can expect Android, as well as iOS, application contests in the future.