Imagine Cup 2015: Ontario Science Students Help Others Get Home Safely
When four Queens University students in Kingston, Ontario saw a need for better safety within their university community, they jumped on it. The result? A brilliant new app called “Walkly.” Walkly is the 21st century equivalent of calling your parents when you’ve reached your destination so that they don’t worry.
According to team member Anastasiya Tarnouskaya, a biomedical computing major, “With this app, users enter an estimated arrival time, and once they get to that destination, the app automatically alerts the trusted network that they got there safely. That way, the walker doesn’t have to worry about forgetting, and the walker’s friend can keep track of their safety from anywhere in the world.”
Tarnouskaya, along with team members Christopher Thomas, Riley Karson and Julie Lycklama (all software design majors), were inspired to create the app by real-world situations. “We’re all university students, people walk to and from campus all the time,” says Thomas. “The student neighborhood is nice, but you might not want to be walking through it late at night. It’s just nice to know that you have all your friends looking out for you.”
When we met the team at the Imagine Cup in Seattle, these innovation category competitors shared some advice for educators who might be in a position to inspire students as they were inspired.
“I think it’s really important for educators to try to get their students to be very aware of their surroundings,” Tarnouskaya told us. “People are very perceptive, they know what problems they have and what tools they’re missing. But sometimes they don’t realize that it’s within their reach to fix those problems, and that’s exactly what we did.”
For Thomas, the advice was similar. “Something that teachers could tell their students is that you have to put yourself out there. [There are] so many people in the world, with so many great resources, who want to help you. You need to pull their feedback.”
By participating in the Imagine Cup, these innovative young people are doing just that – getting feedback and inspiration from the many people who want to see them succeed. And I proudly count myself among them!
Meet Canada’s Team Walkly in today’s Daily Edventure.
2015 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finalists, Innovation Category