Galway’s first app competition reveals talented coders at NUI Galway and GMIT

 In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the group category went Message in a Bottle, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep those messages or throw them back in the ocean. Demonstrating the app are two of its creators Aleksei Lorenz, a first year computer science student at NUI Galway who is originally from Belarus, and Yan Chak Or, and administration and informations systems student at GMIT, who is originally from Hong Kong.

In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the group category went Message in a Bottle, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep those messages or throw them back in the ocean. Demonstrating the app are two of its creators Aleksei Lorenz, a first year computer science student at NUI Galway who is originally from Belarus, and Yan Chak Or, and administration and informations systems student at GMIT, who is originally from Hong Kong.

The winners of CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students have been announced. First prize in the individual went to GMIT, with 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 his 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. Mr Mac Donnacha 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 among 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.”

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