Download this! Local Hackers in Competition for Apps to Help Society

Nov 19, 2014

Pocketsights, a travel app, won first place at the AT&T Central New York Civic App Challenge

  There’s a possibility one of the next apps you download will have been made right here in Syracuse. The first AT&T Central New York Civic App Challenge gave awards to four apps based on both creativity and ability to impact the area. Alan Ward says his app provides a modern way to see the landmarks of Central New York:

“We’re here to replace these. We’re in a generation now where this is our map. This is where we want to see, we don’t want this. This is a platform where they can go back into and update anytime they like.”

Ward’s app Pocket-Sights won the division for apps that had been in development longer than 2 months. The app edged out designer Roy Thomas, who says his app helps bridge an unspoken language gap within the United States:

Play2Sign, A sign language app, won second place in the competition

“When you go into France or Germany, you want to pick up a bit of language to be able to communicate with that people in that country. Our concept is why not learn ASL, American Sign Language, to be able to communicate with the hard of hearing people in this country.”

Play-2-Sign uses games and videos as learning aids, according to Thomas. Tom Hart says he designed his app at a hackathon, a contest where programmers have a set timeframe to do all the of app’s coding. Hart’s app looks to improve adult literacy rates… an idea he feels so strongly about he gives it away for free:

“It’ll never make money, but it should cost almost nothing to run. That’s really the goal of what I am going after is just enabling existing outreach organizations, like ProLiteracy, to be able to do their job better without having to spend a lot of money on a proprietary solution.”

The PageTurner app earned Hart a second-place finish in his division. The winners and the runner-ups each took home a portion of 18 thousand dollars in prize money. All of the winning apps are still under development, but the designers are working to have them available for your phone as soon as possible.