It just got easier to find parking space on the University of Michigan campus or to harvest power from your mobile phone using applications developed by UM students and staff.
Apps that let people create digital copies of their event tickets, organize task lists, and meet people with shared interests through location-based social networking are among the winners in the 2010 Michigan Mobile Apps Challenge.
The competition was sponsored by Apple Inc., Google, UM Information and Technology Services, UM Computer Science and Engineering, and the UM Office of Technology Transfer.
"We were really impressed by the quality of apps and the expertise of applicants this year," said Holly Nielsen, director of enabling technologies and services at ITS. "Creativity and ingenuity is thriving at UM. This competition serves as an excellent platform for showcasing it."
Twenty apps were entered in four platform categories: iPhone, Android, Windows, and Web applications. All active UM students, faculty, and staff were eligible to compete.
The top three winning applications were:
* HiJack: Ye-sheng Kuo, a graduate student instructor in electrical engineering and computer science, and his colleagues won the top prize for an app that can harvest power and bandwidth for a peripheral device when plugged into the iPhone's headset jack. The app currently measures temperature and humidity, soil moisture, and heart rate. Kuo's team envisions many possibilities for the app, making HiJack appealing to general consumers and professionals in many fields.
* Arbor Park: This Android app serves as a guide to the UM parking lots on the Ann Arbor campus, allowing users to search campus lots based on permit type, day, and time. Created by Dhineshkumar Muthu, a computer science student, Arbor Park can also locate handicapped and motorcycle parking. (Unsolicited Opinon From The Editor Dept.: I LOVE this. Especially for Ann Arbor, where a former colleague of mine pointed out that the city motto ought to be, "Welcome to Ann Arbor -- but please don't bring your car.")
* Checkmate for Foursquare: Enhancing the location-based social networking tool, Foursquare, this iPhone app automates the "check in" process that users complete when visiting their favorite venues. Created by Hung Truong, an application programmer for North Quad, Checkmate also allows users to share their "check-ins" on Facebook and Twitter.
The judges also recognized five runners-up:
* Michael Kelley, LSA student: friendFM
* Chris Augustyniak, engineering student: PressBox
* Alexander Itkin, engineering student: Tadpole
* Pei-Yao Hung, information graduate student: Emotioner
* Peter Ludwig, engineering student: Tasks Maestro
Videos of all the entries are available online on the Mobile Center, http://mobileapps.its.umich.edu/.
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