OSU Annual App competition encourages innovation among students, faculty and staff
Thursday, December 8, 2022
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Each year, the Oklahoma State University annual App competition encourages students and faculty to create and develop apps focused on improving society. This year, four groups were awarded prizes: a first place and three runner-ups.
“The app competition encourages ideation,” said Jai Rajendran, manager of the OSU App Center. “Our intention is to find and support app ideas that could solve a real problem for the users. A mobile app is one of the ways the benefits of research could reach directly to the public.”
The winner of the fall 2022 OSU App competition was Bug Scope, an app that will help users identify commonplace bugs and insect eggs that may transmit diseases using Machine Learning.
Two assistant professors — Drs. Sathya Aakur and Ruth Scimeca, along with students Shubham Trehan and Udhav Ramachandran — developed the idea for Bug Scope.
The app includes user-supported maps that show the frequency of bugs and diseases regionally, and user-assisted training that can further support the accuracy of the app in identifying insects.
The runners-up for this year's competition included:
- Audi8, an app that utilizes games and exercises to teach the user techniques in audiation through music learning theory.
- Access Energy, which makes energy data accessible and affordable to users seeking practical energy management solutions for industrial and commercial facilities.
- Flight Dose, which uses software to track and estimate the amount of radiation exposure aircrews and the public face during flight.
The winning team received $2,000 and the three runners-up received $1,000 each to facilitate the development and release of their apps. The groups also will get continued support from OSU.
“The winning app idea will get pro-bono app design support from the App Center,” Rajendran said. “We will also connect interested teams with available funding and support resources for advancing their app idea.”
Contestants in the competition are judged by a panel of representatives from OSU and tech enterprises across the nation. This year, Alexander Klebanov, an artificial intelligence machine learning specialist from Google, participated in the judge panel.
“I think the whole idea of an app competition is great,” Klebanov said. “The role of any university is twofold: to advance the research, science and technology as a whole, but also to prepare folks for entering and being productive assets for the industry. Getting a taste of the real world early, and what would advance them in the innovation and entrepreneurship space is really positivegreat.”
Apps are judged based on its tangible utility to solve a significant problem, along with how well-thought-out the technology, sourcing and deployment of the app is.
“I found that the winners had a really good idea and that they really thought through the technical functionality, the funding and the advantage for users and customers of the app,” Klebanov said. “Many great ideas fall short in implementation and execution. I was glad to see this year’s winners approached all aspects of the apps with a comprehensive, well rounded mindset.”
This year, 63 app ideas were submitted for the competition, nine more than last year. The university hopes that the app competition and continued partnerships with companies on the leading edge of technology, such as Google, will continue to grow and inspire innovation among the OSU community.
“Students should never stop the curiosity and innovation that will propel them into their careers and into newer, better, bigger roles in any career,” Klebanov said. “Always focus on what’s next. What can we do better? What can we do bigger? What can we improve on?”
Story by: Hadley Dejarnette, Brand Management Intern