Local students develop award-winning disaster relief app

Community Jul 10, 2019 by Namish Modi Waterloo Chronicle

Inspired by the worst floods in the state of Kerala, India in over a century, a pair of 14-year-old girls created an app to help with disaster aid, resulting in them winning a North American competition.

Leya Oommen, a Grade 8 student at K-W Bilingual school, visited Kerala in 2018 and was inspired, through the result of the floods, to develop the app AID or, Aid In Disaster.

“My grandfather wanted to help by buying resources for the flood relief organizations. He didn’t know what to buy, there was so much chaos, that led to this idea,” explained Oommen.

Oommen and classmate Ellen Brisley, who coined themselves ‘String Theorists,’ developed AID as part of a pitch for the Technovation competition, where they were named the junior winners of the North American regional semifinals.

The app focuses on the remnants of a natural disaster, making a more efficient way for organizations, donors, and victims to co-ordinate aid. It is designed to connect donors, emergency response organizations and governments to make sure survivors receive the help they need. Victims share what they need through their location. Response organizations can focus on a region’s needs while donors can see what resources are required.

“The biggest thing is after a disaster, people need information so that they don’t need to freak out, and they can be calm after the chaos,” explained Brisley. “You don’t have to worry about resources coming in, you don’t have to worry about what to access. So pretty much, our app just helps organize all the information, so that’s not a priority, and saving people’s lives really is.”

Through their involvement in Technovation the past two years, along with a visit to Communitech, the girls have developed a further interest in programming and are going to take courses in the future to learn more.

“We were really excited and we were really surprised,” said Oommen, as the pair didn’t start on AID until March. They explained that they spent about three hours a day in the last few weeks trying to get the project done before the competition.

Debbie Smith, Waterloo Women in Computer Science co-ordinator, who works directly with the Technovation program, says that normally students begin work on their projects in January, as it takes quite an amount of work.

Oommen and Brisley competed in the 2018 competition as well. Oommen is attending Waterloo Collegiate Institute in the fall while Brisley is going to Cameron Heights. 

Since Oommen and Brisley won the junior girls pitch, they don’t participate in the world pitch. However, they were awarded a $1,000 scholarship to continue their journey. There are regional winners in each division, while Oommen and Brisley beat out 38 other teams in the North American semifinals.

The pair has a completed prototype for the app, but are planning to continue work on it into the summer and into the school year. They used Java as well as an android developer to create the app. They have also spoken to The Red Cross and received feedback on where they can improve it. In the future, they will look to further categorize needs for resources in the app as well as add more languages to make it functional globally.

As the ambassador for Technovation in the Waterloo Region, University of Waterloo’s Women in Computer Science group organizes workshops to teach the teams the skills that they need in order to complete the four-month program: ideation, programming, designing a user interface, making a pitch video, making a demo video, making a business plan.

Recently, the Waterloo Chronicle has profiled some of the local winners of the annual competition including the 'Trash-to-Go' app and 'Tapp Water.' 

Through Technovation, girls from the ages of 10 to 18 work with adult mentors, find an issue and the community, as well as launch a startup.

 

Waterloo students develop award-winning disaster relief app

Leya Oommen and Ellen Brisley won the junior Technovation competition

Community Jul 10, 2019 by Namish Modi Waterloo Chronicle

Inspired by the worst floods in the state of Kerala, India in over a century, a pair of 14-year-old girls created an app to help with disaster aid, resulting in them winning a North American competition.

Leya Oommen, a Grade 8 student at K-W Bilingual school, visited Kerala in 2018 and was inspired, through the result of the floods, to develop the app AID or, Aid In Disaster.

“My grandfather wanted to help by buying resources for the flood relief organizations. He didn’t know what to buy, there was so much chaos, that led to this idea,” explained Oommen.

Oommen and classmate Ellen Brisley, who coined themselves ‘String Theorists,’ developed AID as part of a pitch for the Technovation competition, where they were named the junior winners of the North American regional semifinals.

Related Content

The app focuses on the remnants of a natural disaster, making a more efficient way for organizations, donors, and victims to co-ordinate aid. It is designed to connect donors, emergency response organizations and governments to make sure survivors receive the help they need. Victims share what they need through their location. Response organizations can focus on a region’s needs while donors can see what resources are required.

“The biggest thing is after a disaster, people need information so that they don’t need to freak out, and they can be calm after the chaos,” explained Brisley. “You don’t have to worry about resources coming in, you don’t have to worry about what to access. So pretty much, our app just helps organize all the information, so that’s not a priority, and saving people’s lives really is.”

Through their involvement in Technovation the past two years, along with a visit to Communitech, the girls have developed a further interest in programming and are going to take courses in the future to learn more.

“We were really excited and we were really surprised,” said Oommen, as the pair didn’t start on AID until March. They explained that they spent about three hours a day in the last few weeks trying to get the project done before the competition.

Debbie Smith, Waterloo Women in Computer Science co-ordinator, who works directly with the Technovation program, says that normally students begin work on their projects in January, as it takes quite an amount of work.

Oommen and Brisley competed in the 2018 competition as well. Oommen is attending Waterloo Collegiate Institute in the fall while Brisley is going to Cameron Heights. 

Since Oommen and Brisley won the junior girls pitch, they don’t participate in the world pitch. However, they were awarded a $1,000 scholarship to continue their journey. There are regional winners in each division, while Oommen and Brisley beat out 38 other teams in the North American semifinals.

The pair has a completed prototype for the app, but are planning to continue work on it into the summer and into the school year. They used Java as well as an android developer to create the app. They have also spoken to The Red Cross and received feedback on where they can improve it. In the future, they will look to further categorize needs for resources in the app as well as add more languages to make it functional globally.

As the ambassador for Technovation in the Waterloo Region, University of Waterloo’s Women in Computer Science group organizes workshops to teach the teams the skills that they need in order to complete the four-month program: ideation, programming, designing a user interface, making a pitch video, making a demo video, making a business plan.

Recently, the Waterloo Chronicle has profiled some of the local winners of the annual competition including the 'Trash-to-Go' app and 'Tapp Water.' 

Through Technovation, girls from the ages of 10 to 18 work with adult mentors, find an issue and the community, as well as launch a startup.

 

Waterloo students develop award-winning disaster relief app

Leya Oommen and Ellen Brisley won the junior Technovation competition

Community Jul 10, 2019 by Namish Modi Waterloo Chronicle

Inspired by the worst floods in the state of Kerala, India in over a century, a pair of 14-year-old girls created an app to help with disaster aid, resulting in them winning a North American competition.

Leya Oommen, a Grade 8 student at K-W Bilingual school, visited Kerala in 2018 and was inspired, through the result of the floods, to develop the app AID or, Aid In Disaster.

“My grandfather wanted to help by buying resources for the flood relief organizations. He didn’t know what to buy, there was so much chaos, that led to this idea,” explained Oommen.

Oommen and classmate Ellen Brisley, who coined themselves ‘String Theorists,’ developed AID as part of a pitch for the Technovation competition, where they were named the junior winners of the North American regional semifinals.

Related Content

The app focuses on the remnants of a natural disaster, making a more efficient way for organizations, donors, and victims to co-ordinate aid. It is designed to connect donors, emergency response organizations and governments to make sure survivors receive the help they need. Victims share what they need through their location. Response organizations can focus on a region’s needs while donors can see what resources are required.

“The biggest thing is after a disaster, people need information so that they don’t need to freak out, and they can be calm after the chaos,” explained Brisley. “You don’t have to worry about resources coming in, you don’t have to worry about what to access. So pretty much, our app just helps organize all the information, so that’s not a priority, and saving people’s lives really is.”

Through their involvement in Technovation the past two years, along with a visit to Communitech, the girls have developed a further interest in programming and are going to take courses in the future to learn more.

“We were really excited and we were really surprised,” said Oommen, as the pair didn’t start on AID until March. They explained that they spent about three hours a day in the last few weeks trying to get the project done before the competition.

Debbie Smith, Waterloo Women in Computer Science co-ordinator, who works directly with the Technovation program, says that normally students begin work on their projects in January, as it takes quite an amount of work.

Oommen and Brisley competed in the 2018 competition as well. Oommen is attending Waterloo Collegiate Institute in the fall while Brisley is going to Cameron Heights. 

Since Oommen and Brisley won the junior girls pitch, they don’t participate in the world pitch. However, they were awarded a $1,000 scholarship to continue their journey. There are regional winners in each division, while Oommen and Brisley beat out 38 other teams in the North American semifinals.

The pair has a completed prototype for the app, but are planning to continue work on it into the summer and into the school year. They used Java as well as an android developer to create the app. They have also spoken to The Red Cross and received feedback on where they can improve it. In the future, they will look to further categorize needs for resources in the app as well as add more languages to make it functional globally.

As the ambassador for Technovation in the Waterloo Region, University of Waterloo’s Women in Computer Science group organizes workshops to teach the teams the skills that they need in order to complete the four-month program: ideation, programming, designing a user interface, making a pitch video, making a demo video, making a business plan.

Recently, the Waterloo Chronicle has profiled some of the local winners of the annual competition including the 'Trash-to-Go' app and 'Tapp Water.' 

Through Technovation, girls from the ages of 10 to 18 work with adult mentors, find an issue and the community, as well as launch a startup.