Over the weekend, Mubaloo and the University of Bristol held their annual Appathon. Now in its third year and with over 70 students taking part (double that of last year); the Appathon encourages students to think about how mobile can improve their daily lives.
As the event sponsor, Mubaloo wanted to encourage the students to discover what’s possible with mobile, and what better way to do this than to get the students to build their own mobile apps! Mubaloo ran a series of talks in the build up to the Appathon, with the aim of helping students to prepare for the event. These covered areas around mobile strategy, development & mobile UX & UI, as well as a talk on general hackathon tips.
Students started coding their apps from 9am on Saturday 1st March right through the night until 11am on the Sunday.
After 26 hours of coding, a lot of energy drinks, pizza and very little sleep, students had to prepare their presentations and demos for the judges. The judges included two senior lecturers at the university, as well as Ben Reed, Mubaloo’s head of technology and Mubaloo’s marketing assistant, Clair O’Neill. The apps produced were of such a high level it was difficult choosing between the winner and runners up. We based our choices on a number of factors; including the quality of the demo, the look and feel of the app and how impressive it was technically, as well as the overall concept.
The award for ‘Best dressed’ however, was the easiest to decide on. This went to team ‘Sharknami’, who produced a game not too dissimilar to Flappy Bird, where a surfer has to avoid sharks and other obstacles on the screen
The two very worthy runners up included the NFC game ‘Near Field Creatures’, where users are encouraged to scan different types of cards (student card or Oyster card for example) and collect different animals. Each animal has a different number of points and some are more rare than others, users are encouraged to compete against each other and collect as many animals as they can. There were a number of highly addictive games presented at the Appathon but Near Field Creatures was a favourite with the judges because it utilised NFC tags through gamification.
Near Field Creatures
The next runner up was Sharehub, a conference & meeting assistant that connects to Dropbox to share & sync documents and presentations. This technical infrastructure of this app impressed the judges considering it was only built in 24 hours. The judges from Mubaloo felt this stood out as it could be used in a lot of enterprise use cases.
The winner of the Appathon was Ballpark; a local messaging platform that utilises Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to host and discover conversations taking place nearby. We were really impressed with the technology behind this app and the potential it has to become a really useful tool.
As always, the quality of the apps delivered this year has been phenomenal and also the turnout was absolutely fantastic! This was down to the whole of the computer science society promoting the event across local newspapers and radio stations, as well as across the university. Special thanks to the president of the computer science society, Tom Ryczanowski, and the vice president, Aankhi Mukherjee, for all of their hard work. It really has paid off and we can’t wait for the next one!
The president of the Computer Science Society, Tom Ryczanowski, spoke to BBC Bristol Radio just before the Appathon had officially begun, you can listen to it here by jumping to 2:48:30 (available for 5 more days).

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