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Engineering students design mobile apps

By University Relations
On November 10, 2011

Engineering students at UTM are breaking ground on mobile app design. Dr. Somsak Sukittanon, associate professor of engineering, said UT Martin students have made over 20 mobile applications now available for both Android and Apple products.

"Currently, students can produce 20-30 apps per year from the class assignments. We are trying to increase the number of downloads to 100,000 in the near future," Sukittanon said.

The student-created apps are available to download for free and include seven educational apps for biology, engineering and mathematics. For example, using the Anatomy Tutor app, students can practice several biology subjects when studying for exams.

To date, the apps have been downloaded over 20,000 times, over 50 percent of which were downloaded in foreign countries such as the UK, China, Canada, Italy and Russia. The download peak is 700 per day.

"This is a new kind of learning for our students. First, they are being prepared for cutting-edge careers. Second, their results become beneficial to people outside the university. But the most important aspect of app design is to make education fun and enjoyable. Students no longer use only pen and paper but also use a variety of tools to complete projects," Sukittanon said.

The engineering students have designed the apps as part of class homework, final projects and senior design projects.

Senior engineering major, Jesse Clifft, designed a ball-bouncing game that integrates physics theory on momentum to create realistic movement.

"Working on mobile apps is tremendously fun. When I received the assignment in class I wanted to make it perfect, because I know the whole world will be able to see it later. UTM has all the resources; the only thing that is going to limit what you can create is your imagination," Clifft said.

Ezra Nance, a sophomore engineering student, made a Blackjack game mobile app, the highest downloaded of the UTM apps to date.

"It is nice to be involved with this effort. This UTM course has offered the experience that I expect to gain from a real-working job environment," Nance said.

Senior engineering major, Josh Potts, focuses on Android applications. His apps have over 10,000 combined downloads.

"Mobile technology is the future. In my work I've found or created technology that is used for everything from education to home security," Potts said.

Other apps include, Prime Billion, made by Thomas Hunt. It helps find any prime number up to 1 billion. Blackjack and Craps make use of probability to create casino simulation games.

To download the apps, go to the app store on iPhone/iPod/iPad and search the keywords, "University of Tennessee at Martin."

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