The ability to track cats, forage for wild food and get a daily update on how green your transport choices are among a suite of conservation-themed smartphone applications (apps) developed by students at
Third year engineering, computer science and design students have combined their skills to produce the apps in a six-week team project on a theme of conservation in the city. Their innovations were showcased at an event held at Victoria this week and some are available to be further developed and commercialised in partnership with local businesses.
Other apps unveiled at the event will help users upload and listen to audio recordings of the natural environment, explore walks in the
Return on Science, a national research commercialisation programme that helps bring research to market, has provided funding and mentoring for some of the students involved in the programme.
"The design course was focused on the client side of developing an app while engineering and computer science students were looking at the underlying structure. They seemed like fraternal twins, or two sides of the same coin," says
"It's been incredibly valuable for design students to work alongside engineering and computer science students because they've learned to communicate with another discipline and had a taste of what app development is like in the real world."
"Working in a team of people from different backgrounds and with different skills
has led to more creative ideas and encouraged students to think beyond just development to how the app might be used and marketed.
"Some of the students will be in the workforce next year so that has been incredibly useful," says Dr Welch.
The apps showcased are:
Call of Tane--encourages users to explore walks in the
LoCATor--tracks the path cats take over a set period of time and, when combined with geofencing, shows when a cat is frequenting an area inhabited by wildlife.
Dusky--a social app for following geotagged sounds of the world through an interactive map.
Forager--helps users find wild foods and gives advice on harvesting and cooking.
R.E.C--users can view nearby locations of
Eco-Trails--users upload their GPS location to calculate how environmentally friendly their daily transportation is.
Check-IT--encourages users to do more recycling by providing information on what can be recycled and where recycling facilities are located.
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