Code Ninjas unmasked in competition for Galway students
The winners of CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, have been announced with first prize in the individual going to GMIT and NUI Galway scooping first prize in the group category.
The competition was designed by local businesses and academics to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. Individuals and groups were encouraged to build web and mobile applications, and were given a number of tutorials and workshops along the way.
First prize in the individual category went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal, creator of 'iSpeak'. This application allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other through a Windows Phone 7 Mobile application. One person speaks in their phrase, it is converted to text and sent to a translation service, and the result is spoken to the second person in their native language. The application was selected as the individual winner due to its novel use of both software APIs and hardware elements like the phone's accelerometer to achieve its aims. Cathal won an iPad for his winning app.
The first prize of €500 in the group category was given to the app 'What's the Score' , created by NUI Galway students Mike Rockall and Con Crowley, who are both from Oranmore. 'What's the Score' is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. In their decision, the judges cited its easy usability for small sports clubs and teams, including Facebook user logon functionality, and also highlighted its strong commercial potential.
Runner-up prizes were awarded to the group project 'Message in a Bottle', a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean, and to the individual entry 'Implexis Adiutor', a crossword solver application for Android phones.
John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer in Engineering and Informatics and co-founder of the StreamGlider app for iPad, said: :We were delighted with the high standard of apps developed as part of our inaugural CodeNinja competition. It was great to see a range of areas targeted, from sports to leisure games to language translation. We are hoping that this will be the first in a series of CodeNinja events to raise the level of app development skills amongst Galway's student population that will then diffuse into industry as our students take on roles in local Galway companies."
Damien Costello, GMIT Lecturer in Software Development, said "Competitions like CodeNinja are a great initiative. It is an ideal forum for students to showcase their creative abilities and their programming capabilities to their peers and to local industries. It allows our students to take their mobile development skills learned as part of the Software Development course to the next level."
GMIT's Software Development students and lecturers have been working with four client companies specialising in app development in GMIT's Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC). Known as the GMIT App Cluster Group, the four client companies and staff and students hold an App Bash Session every two months with each company presenting their commercial app for review by the other client companies, the students and lecturers. In turn, the students present their apps and have them reviewed by the app cluster group.
These sessions have been of great benefit to the GMIT software development students. They also serve as a good sounding board for ideas and as a focus group for testing and feedback on work being done.
Judging the competition were NUI Galway's John Breslin, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr Jim Duggan, Information Technology, Dr Michael Lang, Business Information Systems, Clodagh Barry, Bright Ideas Initiative, and local company founders Paul Killoran, Ex Ordo, Michael FitzGerald, OnePageCRM and Dave Kelly, BeautyBoss. Professor Chris Curtin, Vice President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, presented the prizes.