Student Team Develops Winning App
Students pursuing the INI's bicoastal master's degrees must leave their routines halfway through their programs and "go West." As if to prove the value of relocating to Carnegie Mellon's Silicon Valley campus, a three-student team participated in a developer competition on Oct. 23 hosted by the Sprint Developer Program and Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP) in San Jose, Calif. They came away as winners, not only by proving themselves top competitors but also by gaining an excellent industry experience.
Shrikant Adhikarla, Ditaya Das and Sanjay Parab (MS23) tied for first place in the competition's category for the best use of the Sprint API. Enticed by the competitive challenge, the competition’s promise of "stacks of cash and devices for prizes," and to demonstrate their "Get It Done!" attitude, the teams put their developer skills to the test for the chance to design a winning application in a variety of categories. The judges in the 24-hour competition were representatives from Facebook, Trident Capital and Sprint.
The team's winning application P2P Connect.me provides an adhoc peer-to-peer way for devices to communicate information, without having to connect to any WiFi access points or the Internet. The application allows users to share business and social contacts across multiple users in a single click and at the same time preserves privacy. One potential use of the application would be at a conference where a group of people wishes to exchange contact information with many new acquaintances. One of the selling points of this application is that devices need not interact with any third-party server or a WiFi access point; the data travels directly from device to device while giving respect to the user's privacy. In order to achieve direct transfer of data, the team implemented WiFi-Direct API's in the application to enable WiFi P2P communication within devices.
The team was able to apply their idea on a large scale through the use of geo-fencing, a technology that creates a virtual perimeter around an area. "This implementation was commended by the Sprint Engineering team," reported Shrikant.
In addition to bragging rights, the team members were awarded Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphones. The team follows on the success of another group of INI students who placed second in a similar event hosted by PayPal in September. Shrikant was a member of that winning team, as well.
With the close proximity of industry leaders, such as Sprint and PayPal, the Silicon Valley region is full of opportunities for students. The local hackathons, developer conferences and entrepreneur workshops reinforce a "learn by doing" style of education that graduate students tend to desire.
Pictured above: Shrikant Adhikarla, Sanjay Parab and Ditaya Das with Ramprasad Koya from the Sprint Application Developers Program.