We've interviewed past App of the Month winners to learn more about them and hear about what drives them to make such great apps! Read some of our interviews below:
August - Daniel Lara (Mercalli2)
Daniel Lara is an Electronic Engineer at the University of Mariano Galvez in Guatemala City. He specializes in Seismic Instrumentation, Volcanological Systems and Automatic Data Acquisition Stations. Daniel received the 2015 August App of the Month Badge for Mercalli2, an application which gathers users’ data on earthquake tremors to update and inform residents of potential dangers. The app has users describe the earthquake using the Mercalli scale and upload a picture of damage the earthquake might have caused previously. Google Maps and a GPS locator are used to tag the update with a specific location.
Daniel explains that although there exists sophisticated technology to track the seismic events in Guatemala, crowdsourcing details on an earthquake could offer more location specific information than existing digital or analog instruments. The intention of the software was to assist populations in developing “a preliminary overview of damages, costs, and decision-making in an emergency”. It took around 3 months to design, test and implement Mercalli2. The app has given Daniel various ideas on how social media and the internet can collaborate with the scientific community. He hopes to target this theme in his future research.
In his free time, Daniel spends time with his wife and children. He enjoys ecological tours, science fiction films, basketball, volleyball, swimming, and visiting the countryside with his family. In building the app, Daniel used the App Inventor tutorials and documents- he continues to update Mercalli2 with new features and programs. The goal is to expand the project so that it becomes an easily-accessible, open-source network that provides real time data and stores records of seismic information for the public.
September - Mael Picornell (Freistoß Schießen)
Mael, a high school student living in Germany, is the winner of the September App of the Month Contest. Mael designed “Freekick” or “Freistoßschießen”, a soccer game which requires the player to guide the ball through several rows of defenders into the goal. As the levels progress, the application introduces more and more defenders that the player must get through in order to get the ball into the goal. Most of the features of the app were programmed using clocks (to control the defenders), moving sprites, and the “when collided with other” tool. Mael explains that coding the final level, ‘endless mode’, was the most challenging because it involved the use of TinyDB.
Freekick is Mael’s first app, designed without any previous programming experience. The app evolved through several updates over the course of two months. At its final stages, it includes over ten levels, each with its own carefully programmed interface. Mael hopes to continue using App Inventor to gain a better understanding for programming.
Outside of programming, Mael enjoys playing basketball and spending time with friends. He also practices Aikido, a type of Japanese Martial Art.