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Oklahoma State University

Top apps use research to solve real-world needs

Tue, November 29, 2016
Dr. Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, center with certificate, was the first place winner of the 2016-17 From Research to App Competition.

For the first time, the annual App Center mobile app competition was opened to entries from Oklahoma State University faculty and staff, along with traditional student entries. The change opened the door to Dr. Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, assistant professor of apparel design and textile science in the OSU College of Human Sciences, who won the contest’s Phase I Best App Idea.

Ruppert-Stroescu’s app, Pattern Master, tackles a clothing design need of university students as well as the wider apparel industry, she said. The app is a tool to calculate measurements for pattern adjustments for apparel and soft goods pattern engineers. Ruppert-Stroescu won $2,500 for her idea “pitch” where finalists sell their idea to a panel of judges. Winning second place, and $1,000, was John Weaver and Andrienne Sanogo, from the School of Teaching and Curriculum Leadership in the OSU College of Education, who developed the Divisionista app idea to provide activities, games, and video instruction to help students, pre-service teachers, teachers, and parents learn how to divide whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and polynomials.

With new sponsors, the App Center introduced a researched-based theme for the 5th annual event, “From Research to App Competition.” Opening the contest to a wider group of contestants resulted in a record 87 entries, nearly a quarter of which were faculty and staff. The top 10 finalists represented a variety of OSU disciplines including plant sciences, education, communication sciences and disorders, animal science, and electrical engineering. The remaining eight competitors in the finals each won $500.

“Identifying a problem, conceiving a solution, and then making that solution useful to others, that is what the research enterprise is all about,” said Vice President for Research Dr. Kenneth Sewell. “The App Competition puts that process front and center.”

The contest is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship in the Spears School of Business and was judged by OSU faculty and staff, members of the OSU App Center Steering Committee, staff from the OSU Technology Development Center and Cowboy Technologies, and community technology specialists.

“The app competition gets better every time we hold it!” said Dr. Craig Watters, Riata Center director and a contest judge. “More competitors, better apps, more thought to feasibility, very forward thinking contenders – the competition has become a first-class event.”

The top two ideas from Phase I will move on to Phase II, where app developers on campus will have the chance to form teams and develop a working prototype of the two apps. Phase II will begin in January with results announced in March.

“I was very happy to witness that our students and faculty members used their scholarly and scientific knowledge to help solve problems via a mobile app,” said Jai Hari Rajendran, manager of the App Center. “The quality of app ideas we received this year were phenomenal.”

The OSU App Center is an on-campus resource for mobile app development. The center helps individuals build their app ideas and provides grant funding for app development. For information about the App Center visit https://appcenter.okstate.edu/.

PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ostatenews/albums/72157675641474141