High School Students Develop Applications for Google’s Android Mobile Platform

by June 25, 2010

Nearly 30 high school students with complementary backgrounds in arts, computer science and business have come together this summer as part of Florida Atlantic University’s Engineering Scholar Program in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Students are working in teams of three to develop gaming and social networking applications on Google’s Android mobile phones. Android is the latest new mobile phone that is built on open source principles, enabling students to leverage the work of others to build their own sophisticated applications.

Funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2009, the program’s objective is to create an “incubation” center that brings together students with diverse backgrounds and interests to develop high technology products that have potential for commercialization. Students will receive three credit hours upon completion of the program and are competing for tuition and scholarships totaling $12,000.

“There are more than three billion mobile phones in the world today, and this is a rapidly evolving field,” said Dr. Ravi Shankar, professor and director of the Center for Systems Integration in FAU’s department of computer and electrical engineering and computer science. “Nurturing young, entrepreneurial minds in a structured environment will help to spawn new information intensive products and companies in the long run, similar to the evolution of companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Facebook.”

The three-week program consists of concurrent sessions, including Camtasia for promotional video development; Adobe Photoshop and Maya for aesthetics and animation; and Java for programming. In this course, students will learn how to market their applications on the on-line Android market. They will also be able to post and sell their applications on the Android market and FAU’s own Android site.

Google’s Android Mobile Platform has a number of built in features including a Web browser, Google Map, GPS, accelerometer and Bluetooth. These features are readily available to be embedded in the students’ applications for gaming, social networking and even robotics. Students will use a software emulator for the phone to develop the application and a real phone to demonstrate their applications.

“We strongly believe that an ideal entrepreneurial team encompasses several people with complementary backgrounds,” said Shankar. “Our teams are composed of students in arts, business and computer science to enable them to focus on their areas of expertise while working as a team to build a software application that is functional and aesthetically appealing.”

The program will culminate with a day-long event which will provide the students with a platform to showcase and demonstrate their applications to a panel of expert judges representing various industries and fields. Their Android applications will be judged based on their functionality, aesthetics and the promotional video which the students will be required to produce. The students will share a total of $12,000 in scholarships which they can also use toward the universities of their choice. Student scholarships will range from $100 to $800 depending on the ranking of their project.

The program’s team members include: Shankar; Francis McAfee, associate professor, School of Communication and Multimedia Studies and past director of the former Center for Electronic Communication, FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters; Dr. Georgiana Carvalho, visiting assistant professor, FAU’s department of computer and electrical engineering and computer science; Norman Silva, Silva Animation Studio, Inc.; Steve Smodish, Echo Beach Studios; FAU graduate student Mihai Fonoage, department of computer and electrical engineering and computer science; FAU graduate student in computer engineering Charles Norona; FAU undergraduate engineering students Victor Gallego and Alexander Andresen (computer engineering) , Brian Chamba (computer science) and Finner Noon (electrical engineering); and FAU undergraduate student in business Skender Fani.

– FAU –

About the Center for Systems Integration at FAU

The Center for Systems Integration provides a state-of-the-art center for multidisciplinary research, teaching, and training with a component of service and nucleating beneficial economical activities. The Center’s focus is on emerging technologies for real-time embedded system modeling, co-design, co-verification and integration. The Center is envisioned to provide a collaborative environment that induces individual performance and rewards excellence for both university and industry participants, and to contribute to a research and development infrastructure in South Florida.

About the College of Engineering and Computer Science:

The College of Engineering and Computer Science has extensive research programs funded by business, industry and government. Leading these initiatives is the Center for Ocean Energy Technology which explores innovations that will extract energy from the ocean’s Gulf Stream current. This research initiative involves many of the engineering and computer science disciplines, and is just one of the many projects establishing the groundwork for innovation and technology. The College will be the first in the state to call a 97,000 square foot LEED Platinum Level building “home” in fall 2010. The building is being designed to achieve Platinum Level certification – the highest level in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the US Green Building Council. The building is the first in the new engineering complex on the Boca Raton campus and will be a living learning laboratory for sustainable development, featuring all areas and disciplines of the College. The data collected by different sensor technologies embedded throughout the building such as photovoltaic (solar) energy created, energy consumed, geothermal well water temperatures, and temperature indicators will be used to teach, learn and observe. All of the collected information will reinforce the groundwork for new innovation and technology to be fostered within the college.

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.

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