Software Development students winning multiple national awards

Thursday, April 03, 2014 Press Office
Press Release

Top accolades claimed in Code Ninja, Games Ireland and Imagine Cup

GMIT students are winning top prizes in software development competitions across the country, claiming first place in the regional Code Ninja student app competition, ‘Best Gameplay Award’ in the national Games Ireland Challenge, and second in Microsoft’s international Imagine Cup.

Fourth year software development students Adeel Gilani from Claregalway and Chengxuan Xien from Shandong Province, China (living in Galway city) won the coveted first prize in the regional competition ‘Code Ninja’, organised by NUI Galway, for their Windows Phone 7 and 8 augmented reality game.

Called ‘Annoying Mosquito’, the game encourages users to move and exercise while playing. The user looks through their phone display to search for a mosquito somewhere around them. The game uses sound as an indicator that the mosquitos are getting near.  The user then has to find and squash it with their finger before they run out of time.

In a separate national competition, second-year software development student Andrew Sweeney from Kilcolgan won the “Best in Gameplay” award in the Games Ireland Challenge at the Games Fleadh in Thurles.  The games development competition was created so that students could pay homage to a classic  and recreate any arcade video games such as Chopper Command, Asteroids Frogger, Pacman, Space Invaders. This year, students had to create a game based on the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams to honour the 30 year anniversary of its release. 

Competitions such as these provide students with excellent opportunities to test their programming skills.  The Games Fleadh, Code Ninja and the Imagine Cup are just three of the many software competitions open to students in Ireland. 

Damien Costello, lecturer in Software Development, says: “GMIT Maths & Computing Department has been associated with all three of these competitions since they first began in Ireland.  Entering a programming competition motivates students to apply what they are learning, to create something they are passionate about.  They can take ideas they believe in and present them to the world through such platforms,” he explains.

“A group of final year students have done this very successfully with their ‘Road Buddy’ mobile phone app which has the potential to save lives,” says Mr Costello.

Road Buddy has won numerous awards such as the SCULL Enterprise Award 2013 and Student Innovation Awards 2014 and more recently coming second in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup: Students Alan O’Connor from Moyross, Limerick, Gerry Nee from Williamstown, Co Galway, Jeremy Freeley from Claremorris, Co Mayo and Daniel Hehir from Corofin, Galway who developed the app as part of their degree studies, came second in the Irish Finals of the competition.

The app provides emergency services with prompt notification and accurate and relevant data. It can be a life saver in the event of a collision where no one is conscious or able to make the necessary call.  For more information on this app, visit and @road_buddy (twitter).

Listen (below link) to an interview on Connemara Community Radio's Great Outdoor's Programme. Presenter Brendan O'Scannaill talks to GMIT student Alan O'Connor from Limerick about Road Buddy and how it came about, as well as his background and studies in Software Development in GMIT: