Last week, students from all around the area worked for 35 straight hours in a competition to build, design, and program an application for iPhones and Androids. Upon completion, the apps were examined by three judges and categorized. First place, and the “most likely to sell” prize was awarded to the work done by two BC students, Kieran Brusewitz and Brandon Ramirez.
Brusewitz and Ramirez both go to a non-profit organization called Student RND (research and development) near downtown Bellevue. “Student RND is a community of students who love science and technology,” said Edward Jiang, the creator of the program and member of the leadership team.
Last weekend Student RND hosted a weekend-long event called Code Day, where students from Bellevue College, the University of Washington, and other local high schools and colleges gathered for the purpose of creating apps. They started at noon on Saturday, and awards were given out at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Ramirez and Brusewitz teamed up at the beginning of the event and wrote a game called “Slide.” “Slide” is an app for a touch screen phone where the user moves colored blocks around the screen, trying to beat the ticking clock and create lines. It was compared by many participants in the event to be like Tetris taken to the next level. The graphics and even the techno-style music were designed by Brusewitz, Ramirez wrote the software.
Overall, the judges felt that it was a very well-rounded app that had the most potential to actually be marketed. After the winners were announced, Ramirez said, “Next stop, the app store!”
The judges – three industry professionals – looked around at the apps being worked on by the teams on Sunday before the 5:00 p.m. presentations. After viewing the presentations they left the main room and made their decisions behind closed doors.
Some of the other apps that won awards were the games “Space Cat”, in which a cat tries to get back to Earth and has to dodge planets, black holes, and exploding stars (which came in third place), and “Accelerometer,” an app that connects the tilting function of an iPhone to a computer and hooks up with the mouse, (which won second place and Most Ingenious).
Other apps marked notable by the judges was the “Feed Me” app – an app created by the team calling themselves Raven Tech that would upon its completion order the user a surprise meal under $15 after pressing the Feed Me button – and the “Day By Day” app, which was worked on by two UW students and was a daily countdown app or, as described by Andre Stackhouse, one for the students who worked on it, “A count-down timer.”
Student RND hosts events like this on several weekends throughout the year, but they have normal day-to-day schedules as well. Tyler Menezes, a BC student and member of the leadership team, said that Student RND is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with people often around even on the days they weren’t officially open, and that usage was free for students, but unlimited pizza and soda was $10.
BC students according to James Gan, a BC student who frequents Student RND, are about one fourth of the population there, and most of the leadership team members either is or was a BC student.
“We provide resources for students to work on cool science and technology projects,” said Jiang. “We have tools you can use to build really amazing stuff.” One such tool was the huge laser cutter held above the workspace.
There is a history of success at Student RND such as Marshall Meng, a BC Running Start student, who created plasma speakers there. These speakers use energy between two nails to project very high-quality sound. “It’s like 40,000 strikes of lightning every second, only you can control the sound of the thunder,” said leadership team member Adam Ryman.
The money made from the plasma speakers enabled Student RND to purchase the several thousand dollar laser cutter.
The next two weekends at Student RND will be post-event workshops, focusing on refining and marketing the apps created over the 35 hour period of time. Following that, they are open Wednesdays and Saturdays for the use of any student –college or high school – to come, learn, and create.
During the summer, a program called Incubator will be run. “Five teams of four students will have the eight weeks of summer to build something amazing. It’s like an eight week long Code Day!” said Jiang.
For more information about Student RND, students are encouraged to visit their website, www.studentrnd.org.