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A team from Tesla STEM High School won first place for its app that uses student social media to connect students for carpooling.
A team from Tesla STEM High School won first place for its app that uses student social media to connect students for carpooling.

Carpooling. Plant detection. Medication reminders.

These were the winning app ideas at the third annual Youth Apps Challenge, a Technology Alliance program that encourages middle and high school students in Washington to develop forward-thinking software that helps address today’s problems.

youthappschallenge11More than 50 teams submitted projects and 15 finalists gathered at the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering department last week for a live pitch and demo event. Teams submitted their ideas with wireframes or functioning apps, and judges assessed each concept on problem solving and innovation; illustration of idea; feasibility; users; and market.

A team from Tesla STEM High School in Lake Washington ultimately won the first-place prize for their app Carpool School, which utilizes social media networks to connect students that want to share a ride.

“Kids are natural explorers,” Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, said in a statement. “Programs like Youth Apps provide a great introduction to computer science and computational thinking – fundamental capabilities for 21st century citizens.”

Here’s a rundown of the 15 finalists:

  • AllHere: AllHere is a mobile-ready web app to help group or activity leaders track member attendance in a distributed way, decentralizing the work of keeping attendance records.
  • Carpool School (first place): An app using student social media to connect people together for ride sharing.
  • Dealz for Realz: Dealz for Realz is an app that compares the prices of different items in grocery stores. The app includes a real time discount section.
  • Decisions, Decisions: This app helps people make decisions who have a difficult time making decisions.
  • FitMe: “FitMe” allows an online shopper to view clothing on a personalized avatar. They’re also able to purchase clothing and create an online wardrobe.
  • Growing Math Adventure: Growing Math Adventure helps users practice math and science all in one app. Users are taken through a series of math problems and shown images of plant life cycles as a reward for solving the problems.
  • Hiking: People like to hike, but some individuals have trouble finding the ideal trail. Hikers currently use programs like Google maps to find trails. However Google maps does not highlight the trails or provide additional information. This application provides an alternative that allows the user to find trails, make comments,take pictures to share, etc.
  • Hope for the Homeless: The “Hope For The Homeless” app provides an easy and efficient way for homeless people to find cheap, affordable resources and services. Additionally, any organization that may want to help with the issue of homelessness, or a business or service wanting to attract more customers, can enter information into our app for the users to view.
  • M&A: This app allows the user to study on their phone or tablet by using quizzes that users create for themselves.
  • Opportune: Opportune is a platform on which researchers can provide students with intern opportunities. In turn, students can advertise themselves to interested employers or college professors.
  • ReMed (third place): ReMed is an app that reminds people to take their medication as well as keeping track of all the medication they need to take. A great feature is that emergency personnel can access a patient’s medication list and see what they last took and when.
  • School Tools:School Tools provides middle and high school students with an organized place to plan for classes, calculate GPA, and track credits.
  • SleepSync: SleepSync is a convenience app that can set timers and alarms that function in relation to whether the user is asleep or awake. For instance, it can set timers that start when the user falls asleep.
  • TidePool (second place): TidePool is developing a native android app that will help Pacific Northwest beach-goers quickly identify organisms that they find on the beach. They will ask questions about easily discernible traits, such as organism pigmentation and habitat, which will narrow down a list of possible organism matches so that the user may identify the species they see.
  • Tutor Finder: Tutor Finder helps match students who need help with available mentors, encouraging cross grade-level support and communication.
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