The mission of City University Apps Lab (CAL)
is to promote coding education in Hong Kong. Started in 2013 by Dr. Ray Cheung
, Associate Professor in Electronic Engineering, CAL seeks to expose people to technology, empower them to incubate innovation and transform their ideas into applications that positively impact society. Campus programs have included: an entrepreneurship expo, robotics competition, mobile computing education festival, forums with industry leaders and of course, coding workshops with App Inventor.
A crime prevention project
on campus enabled cross-disciplinary collaboration between social science criminology students and engineering students. They worked in partnership with the Crime Prevention Unit of the Hong Kong Police Force to create apps such as those to prevent telephone deception and to counter luggage theft at airports.
Five electronic engineering students joined CAL in 2013 to learn programming skills, but because of access to mentors, tech leaders and entrepreneurs, just 2 years later, they have created a new start-up called Pro-Hub
and got funding for their app, EventCel
. The app is an event management system equipped to handle vast amounts of data.
Since CAL is based on a university campus, one might assume that students are the main beneficiaries of programming instruction. While students do indeed receive mobile computing education and support for transforming their apps into social enterprises, CALs reach extends beyond campus borders with programs like Police Can Code, Executives Can Code, Ambassadors Can Code, Designers Can Code, and Prisoners Can Code.
For the past 2 months, CAL has been collaborating with the Hong Kong Sudden Cardiac Death Prevention Program
because incidents of cardiac arrest are the leading cause of death in Hong Kong. Timely defibrillation and CPR is essential to patient survival, while information and access to equipment is paramount for nearby helpers. The collaboration aims to design an app that:
- Locates and displays local automated external defibrillators (AEDs)
- Broadcasts alerts to nearby lay rescuers
- Recruits nearby lay rescuers to provide bystander CPR
- Assists local rescuers in reaching AEDs for defibrillation
CAL recently partnered with Go Code
(with support from WebOrganic, First Code Academy and Hong Kong Council of Social Service) to provide free coding classes for 300 underprivileged primary school students. Instruction was held on City U campus and curriculum included, Python, Scratch and App Inventor.
For more information about the many campus and community projects, or to get involved please visit the City U Apps Lab website.