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Students Develop Cool Smartphone Apps

Windows 7 Phones Awarded by Microsoft

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Peng Xia explains the “UML Parking Finder” smartphone app he developed in collaboration with fellow student Shan Lu.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

Imagine a smartphone app that helps drivers find parking spots on the UMass Lowell campus. Or one that lets you look up the location of the University’s shuttle bus in real time.

These are just some of the cool, user-friendly programs developed recently by students in a computer science graduate course taught by Assoc. Prof. Benyuan Liu. The “UML Parking Finder” was created by Peng Xia and Shan Lu while the “UML Shuttle Tracker” was developed by Jason Chan, I-Hsuan Lin and Xiawei Liu.

The students worked with the dozen smartphones that Microsoft had awarded to Prof. Liu for his teaching and research. The award was made possible through the company’s international educational partnership program and Project Hawaii.
Launched in 2010, Project Hawaii is an experimental initiative that provides developers with tools, services and equipment to invent their own cloud-enabled mobile applications using Windows Azure and Windows Phone 7. UMass Lowell is one of 20 schools selected for the equipment grant last spring. 
“Students were very excited about the opportunity to use the advanced mobile cloud technologies from Microsoft Research and they learned a great amount about the principles and practice of wireless networking and mobile computing through smartphone application development,” says Liu.

In addition to the UML Parking Finder and the UML Shuttle Tracker, other smartphone apps created by Liu’s class included:

• “ZurianSwap” by Steve Bilozur, Swapnil Gewande and Ian White for translating signs
• “iBridge: Augmenting Reality with Barcode” by Ke Huang and Liuying Peng for scanning product barcodes to obtain information such as price comparison, product availability in nearby stores, nutrition analysis, etc.
• “SleepSafe” by Bhanu Kaushik for detecting sleepwalking
• “Language Translator” by Darshan Darbari and Rachit Mathur for translating languages and storing translated text
• “UML App” by Kavya Kona, Prathiba Dyavegowda and Sunil Kumar Balaganchi Thammaiah for obtaining information about UMass Lowell (shuttle bus schedules, dining services, on-campus residence, athletic centers, libraries, emergency notifications, etc.)
• “UML 4-Ride” by Malav Parikh, Purva Patil, Puneet Agrawal and Pragya Singhal for helping students with ride service
• “RSS Reader” by Naiem Sleiman and Naji Dagher for keeping up to date with the latest news and information.