Over the weekend, thirty computer science students from the University of Bristol took part in the Mubaloo Appathon. The Appathon challenges students to think about how mobile, specifically mobile applications, can help them to access information or make an improvement to their daily lives.

On Saturday 2nd March, nine teams of students started building their applications. Fuelled by energy drinks and takeaway pizzas, students worked straight through the night, right up until their presentations on the Sunday afternoon. Over the course of the weekend, Mubaloo QA manager Daniel Box and Head of Android Scott Alexander-Bown were on site to answer any questions.
As the event sponsor, Mubaloo wanted to encourage computer science students to discover what’s possible with mobile, and what better way to do this than to get students to build their own applications! Mubaloo ran a series of talks in preparation for the Appathon, with the aim of helping students prepare for the event. The talks covered the planning and project management side of mobile applications, as well as the design, development and testing of applications across iOS, Android and HTML5.
The presentations took place on Sunday afternoon to determine this year’s Mubaloo Appathon winners! They were judged by Andrew Calway, head of department for computer sciences at the University of Bristol, as well as Mark Mason, CEO of Mubaloo, and Scott Alexander-Bown, Mubaloo’s Head of Android. There were three prizes available in total; two teams of highly commended runners up received a £50 Amazon voucher for their team, and the winning team won £200 worth of Amazon vouchers.
The first highly commended app was Uni Stalk. The iOS app uses Facebook APIs to help users determine which universities their friends are at. University friends are displayed on a cluster map, with different sized circles representing how many friends are at each university. The bigger the circle, the more friends are there. The app also integrates with rail and bus companies so users can plan their journeys to university cities and towns of their choice.
The next highly commended app was an Android app that allows students to view their university timetables on their mobile devices. The integration of Google Maps allows students to find out where their next lecture or seminar is, as well as finding out details about their classes. The judges liked the practicality of this app and also the fact that it could be developed further and used at the university.
The winner of the competition was Life Cook. This Android app is an interactive game where users can scan QR codes or use NFC tags to unlock virtual foodstuffs. The user who manages to collect all of the food, and unlock all of the achievements, wins. Users are also able to trade items with friends and share what they have collected via social media platforms. The team of students who developed this app were able to present a live demo of their app, which put them a step ahead of other teams. The team had also considered how the app could be used commercially, for example, through sponsorship from restaurants, supermarkets or fast food chains.
The quality of apps delivered this year has been outstanding, especially when you consider that most students have never developed an app before, and the short amount of time they had to deliver it! We’d like to say a huge well done to all of the teams that took part in the Mubaloo Appathon and we wish you all the success with delivering your apps further!

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