Students show off technology skills in contest

Three finalists participated in the second annual South Dakota State University Student App Contest Friday, April 17.

The contest accepted all students across the state, but at least one member of each team needed to be enrolled in a South Dakota college or university.

Each team was judged on the quality of the idea, implementation of the idea and the overall effectiveness of the app.

Two SDSU students, Bo Cimino and Kevin Son, tied for second in the competition. Dave Hulse, from Southeastern Technical Institute, placed first in the competition and won the $5,000 prize fund sponsored by Vision Brookings.

According to Will Aylor, assistant vice president for technology transfer and commercialization, the competition gives students a platform to show what they can do in building and designing apps.

“We just saw that other schools were doing similar types of things and we wanted a chance for our students to show what they could do in this field,” Aylor said.

Cimino presented a mobile game, Elven Defense, a game involving elves and orcs. Cimino said that it is similar to Space Invaders and was inspired by games like flappy bird.

“I don’t really enjoy many phone games out there, but people may find themselves needing to waste time in an airport, so I decided to make something that I would enjoy playing and hopefully other people would,” Cimino said.

Son showed his app, Open Board. The app was inspired by problems he has had with D2l and was an attempt to solve the problems and make grading easier for the instructor and student.

Hulse showed off an idea that could be used in the future. He used the University of South Dakota to test out his idea, so he named it USD Quicklinks. The app is built to receive Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, which smartphones can pick up when close enough to the source.

Husle said that businesses could buy beacons and send information to customers who walk by or stop in at the business. He said that if someone had the app and walked into a coffee shop that had a beacon, the app could pull up information about the shop including the menu, special of the day and more.

Hulse said he plans on using the prize money he won from the competition to buy some BLE beacons, so he can get his idea off of the ground.

Aylor hopes to see more students involved in the competition because it is a good practical application of what they are learning and a good way to showcase their skills to the community.

“The hope is as this builds and we get more and more students involved,” Aylor said, “is that we can start having local businesses that will be able to use these students as a source.”