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Schoolgirls win contest to create iPhone app about engineering


Released Date: Singapore, 7 Sep 2010

The challenge was to create an iPhone application showing the importance of engineering, and it was two Secondary 3 girls from Methodist Girls School who came up with the winning entry.

Tan Yi Rachel and Gauri Ashok Salunkhe produced an app called Engineering Marvels that stood out from the other entries in Singapore’s first iAuthor contest, organised by mobile application developer Omnitoons, the Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES) and Science Centre Singapore.

Rachel and Gauri’s app provides information about several buildings and construction projects – such as Marina Bay Sands and the Marina Barrage - that are outstanding examples of design and engineering. They also have a section about possible future engineering marvels, such as an Eco-City in the sky.

The two schoolgirls impressed the judges with their novel approach - they presented the information in the form of mini-stories about each of the buildings. They also included interactive elements such as a quiz.

Professor Goh Wan Ling, one of the judges, said Engineering Marvels was a clear winner because of its comprehensive and entertaining approach.

The girls had, in a short space of time, “come up with the concept, carried out research, produced some nice graphics and built an app with a lot of information about engineering, engineering feats and future of engineering”. The two girls said the iAuthor contest was “an interesting experience for us as we had never created an application before, and we had a lot of fun”. The winning team, represented by Rachel, received their prize from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Mr Teo Chee Hean on 4 September at the opening of the National Engineers Day. Apart from a crystal trophy, the girls received $1,000 worth of book vouchers and certificates of commendation. The teacher in charge of their team received an iPad.

Omnitoons will work with the girls to refine the app after which it will be placed on the iTunes store.

The aim of the iAuthor contest, said Karen New, CEO of Omnitoons, was “to give Singapore students a chance to develop their own apps without needing technical expertise”.

She said whiz kids such as Cameron Cohen and Lim Ding Wen had become famous by writing iPhone programmes, but with Omnitoons’s app-creating software, students who do not have programming skills but have great content ideas can easily create apps.

“We’re thrilled to see that the contestants made use of this chance and created so many engaging apps,” Ms New added. For more details about the iAuthor Contest, please visit email iauthor@omnitoons.com