Some Manhattan school girls are making their city proud by creating an innovative mobile app as part of their triumph in a worldwide competition. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.
A mobile app designed to help students check into school and get into school more efficiently has won the annual Technovation Challenge. The winning app, called "Arrive," is the product of female students from the Nightingale-Bamford School on the Upper East Side.
Run by Iridescent, a science and engineering nonprofit, the Technovation Challenge is a 12-week, all-female competition that this year was made up of 114 teams from 25 states and countries.
"The challenge for 2013 was solving a problem in your local community. So middle and high school girls work in teams of four to five girls to make an app that solves that problem," says Angelica Torres of Iridescent.
The winning "Arrive" app applies quick response code technology to the matter of school attendance.
"It's an app that allows students and faculty members to check into schools using their phones. You walk into school and the first thing you do is scan a QR code," says 10th grader Krystal Molina.
"Once you scan the QR code, you get checked into the building. But in addition to that, you can choose to have a text message sent to your parents saying that your child has arrived safely," says 12th grader Hope Jin. "Furthermore, there's a robot component to this so when you check in successfully, the door will be opened."
Event organizers are pleased to learn most of the young developers of the "Arrive" app are now interested in pursuing a career in technology, a path they had mostly never considered before the competition.
"It's actually just empowering, to know that you can create something yourself and solve a problem and actually help others," says 11th grader Emma Chesley.
"Representing the female community was something that was simply amazing," says 10th grader Graciela Garcia.
"The judges were really inspiring too. They range from aerospace engineering to positions in the Navy, so that gave us a chance to explore what we could actually do with this technology," says 12th grader Alexandra Damley-Strnad.
That exploration starts immediately with the $10,000 in seed funding the app developers won from Iridescent and the Office of Naval Research, as well as support to fine tune the app and bring it to market.