This year RSD participated in the Digital Futures App Development Programme. This programme, delivered by Sentinus NI, offered school groups across Northern Ireland the opportunity to develop their own app in the hope of winning a trip to Silicon Valley in San Francisco – home to some of the biggest and most successful technology companies in the world.
The process started in February when Sentinus came to RSD to deliver an App Development Induction Workshop to Year 11 Computer Science students. Following this workshop, a number of teams were created and started to meet each week to work on their designs and prototypes. A range of concepts were trialled and after weeks of hard work, Team Pulse emerged with their fully working prototype – ready to pitch to industry experts.
The team, consisting of Tommy Hajdu, Hollie Magowan, James Moan and Katie Chambers created Pulse – an app offering training and emergency first aid. While most first-aid apps offer some form of training to prepare for an emergency, Team Pulse felt that there was a need for an app that could offer quick access to high-quality guidance and support in an emergency. They set to work creating an immediately accessible guide that offers support, step-by-step guidance and the ability to escalate issues by locating medical assistance through GPS tracking or calling 999 without having to leave the app and without having to manually navigate menus. They also added in a personalised medical history feature that would indicate to other users if a known allergy or medical issue should be taken into account.
On Wednesday 19th June, Team Pulse pitched their app in the preliminary round at the department of Computer Science, Queen’s University Belfast. Following the ‘closed door’ pitches the top five teams were selected to pitch again, live on stage, at the Digital DNA event in St George’s Market. Following a successful pitch Team Pulse were selected to pitch again, to a live audience of their peers and a panel of experts.
Occupying the ‘middle slot’ team Pulse were 3rd to pitch their app out of the final five teams. The team spoke clearly, passionately and with a depth of knowledge that conveyed the hours of work they dedicated to the design, development and refinement of the app. The pitch culminated in a live demonstration of the app’s potential, a role-play where a patient was found unconscious. The emergency mode was activated with a spoken command and the symptoms selected. An audio description of the action to take was heard clearly through the speakers as corresponding images appeared on the screen. With the support and guidance from the app, the patient responded and recovered.
Every member of Team Pulse played a key role in the presentation and the team fully deserved their place in the final five. Our congratulations go to each of them, and to all of the finalists who pitched their ideas in Belfast. The confidence and creativity demonstrated throughout this process highlights the level of talent that exists and is continuing to be developed for our digital futures.