7th Grader Wins MIT App Inventor Award with Mashup, Decides to Found Company

Greg Bates, January 28th, 2013

Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, once said, “Now, you’re either on the bus or off the bus.” You may no longer be on the bus… but wouldn’t it be nice to know that your child was? Seventh grader S. Arjun from Velammal Vidyashram, Surapet in Chennai, India, is definitely on it, having won the MIT App Inventor contest in the K-8 division, for his Ez School Bus Locator.

According to The Hindu, Arjun’s app was considered “one of the most creative and well thought out app of any age group.”

Dabbling in tech since the age of two, “I decided on a school bus locator because my parents were so worried when my school bus was late one day. This disturbed me and I wanted to find a solution that would make things easier for them. I hope to come up with more solutions to help keep our world safe,” Arjun told The Hindu. He built the result with the help of his parents.

The way this Android App works is straightforward,

“The Ez School Bus Locator is a two-app solution that uses a bar code scanning to check in and out from the bus and GPS to track the vehicle. There are even SMS alerts to keep parents informed. “This will help parents track their children on bus rides and it supports both Android phones and those that have no Internet facility,” Arjun explains.”

Soon to be available free through Greenwood Labs, an Indian start up, the company explained how simple it is to use, even if your phone isn’t smart, “Send an SMS (with the text ‘wmc’ – that stands for ‘Where’s My Child’) to your child’s school bus phone number. You’ll immediately receive an SMS with the location details and your child’s availability in the bus.” With a smartphone, there are more options for both the parent and student. That should fit right in with it’s mission to “Bring out GREEN apps (desktop and mobile) – applications that are clean, safe, creative, easy and eco-friendly to our world.”

The Hindu spells out his dreams for the future, noting that in the immediate future, he has his hands full,

“My first priority is to make this app available on the Google Play Store. I’m also getting ready for the pilot implementation in school. I also just started working on my dream project — starting my own company (on a small scale right now),” Arjun adds. … With his interests spanning robotics, electronics and badminton, Arjun dreams of becoming a Robotics engineer someday. “I practice robotics programming using my robotics kit when I find time.”

Vroom!

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