This is a guest blog by MIT Master Trainer Yen Yen Lim
My blog will focus on a couple of presentations I watched as an attendee, and my experience as a hackathon judge at the App Inventor Summit in MIT Media Lab on June 22-24, 2016.
I was fascinated by one of the presentations. It showcased an app created by a customized App Inventor which sent live data to iSense (www.isenseproject.org) which is an online collaborative data visualization system. Through the system, the data fed to iSense was then transformed into a colorful graphical chart on the website. This App Inventor project, Creating Data-Rich Projects in App Inventor with AppVis, was presented by 3 college students, Fred Martin & Farzeen Harunani from UMass Lowell, and Samantha Michalka from Olin College. The presentation slides can be found here. The group has created iSense-enabled versions of App Inventor and its App companion. The App Inventor IDE is located at ai.cspathways.org. And, its App Inventor companion can be scanned via a QR code by clicking “Help” and then “Companion Information” on ai.cspathways.org, or downloaded from bit.ly/appviscomp.
I also learned that the newest release of App Inventor includes a new feature, Bluetooth Low Energy, which allows mobile apps to control Bluetooth-low-energy enabled devices. Jose Gomez-Marquez and Andrew McKinney, from MIT, demonstrated its usage.
During the summit, I also had the opportunity to be one of the 4 judges for the kids’ hackathon. It was an interesting event where the kids were given a task to create an app to address any problem pertaining to environmental science, ecology, or human ecology. The app was judged on the following criteria in decreasing merit: the theme of the app, the feasibility of implementing the idea on the mobile, the originality of the idea, the user-interface of the app, the coding of the app, and the group oral presentation of their idea. In order to encourage the use of the various mobile components that App Inventor supports, additional points were awarded based on the number of components being utilized in the apps:
- Media: player, sound, text to speech, camera, camcorder, image, etc.
- Sensors: clock, location, orientation, NFC, accelerometer, pedometer, etc.
- Social: email, texting, photos, sharing, Twitter, use of contact list
- Storage: fusion tables, files, Tiny DB, Firebase DB
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, web, activity starter, etc.