Students Showcase Mobile Tech Innovations At MU Event

Georgi Angelov, Jack HOward, Connor Hickox and Gabriel Riekhof of My 2 Cents won the RJI student competition. | Courtesy of RJI
Georgi Angelov, Jack Howard, Connor Hickox and Gabriel Riekhof of My 2 Cents won the RJI Student Competition. | Courtesy of RJI

Mobile technologies designed to make life easier emerged as the theme of the day when student teams from the University of Missouri presented projects at the school’s RJI Tech Showcase. Journalism, computer science and architectural studies students shared their projects and ideas during the event April 22 and MU’s Reynolds Journalism Institute.

The showcase began with the seventh annual 2014 RJI Student Competition. Two teams presented projects, and My 2 Cents Radio was the winner. The app is designed for young users who are less likely to subscribe to local public radio and TV stations but still want to find stories that appeal to them, according to RJI’s website. My 2 Cents lets users make a donation of two cents, or more, to producers of stories they like.

“In the end, the judges went with the My 2 Cents app because of what I’d call the engaging boldness and simplicity of the idea,” Janet Saidi, one of the competition judges and the news director at KBIA-FM, said in a news release. “The app has potential to be disruptive, and could provide an exciting experiment in fundraising for public media.”

In addition to the RJI Student Competition, the day featured presentations of six mobile apps that utilize Apple’s iBeacon technology. Dale Musser, the Director of Information Technology at MU’s College of Engineering, spoke of the possibilities students have come up with in order to utilize this low-energy, bluetooth-like device.

“iBeacons are made for long-term placement,” Musser said. “(It) identifies locations through cellular data to provide information to applications and tools in that context.”

The apps presented were:

    • U Juke – Enables users to control music at bars using Spotify playlists
    • Ziew – Provides users information about the zoo they are visiting and the zoo’s animals
    • Zobelisk – Creates a social network based around hyper-local content for an area
    • Mizzou Hunt – Turns touring MU’s campus into an interactive game
    • Runway Radar – Promotes fashion designers attending a fashion show
    • Muse Runway – Allows retailers to purchase clothing they see right from the fashion show runway

Other mobile technology presented during the Tech Showcase included an MU Gameday app, which plans to make the Mizzou football experience more convenient, and QPark, a parking app designed specifically for MU.

The MU Gameday app is expected to be ready for use this summer. Tyten Teegarden, the lead developer of the app and the lab manager at RJI’s Microsoft Application Development Lab, said the app will augment the whole experience of a football game day.

“(You) can use maps and images to figure out parking, locate concessions, restrooms,” Teegarden said. “(You) can also share your location with friends to let them know where you are and where your tailgate is.”

The QPark team designed its app specifically for MU. The idea behind the system is to reduce the time it takes an employee to scan a car and issue a ticket. QPark’s developers said users that sign up on QPark’s website would be able to find pricing information on parking garages on campus and then continue to purchase a parking spot in the garage for an allotted amount of time.

Mike McKean, the director of RJI’s Futures Lab, said there are a large number of student at MU doing innovative things with technology. He also said that he hopes the multiple tech presentations showcased that.

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