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Students Develop New Skills to Create iPhone Applications
November 18, 2010
Users of Apple Inc.'s popular iPhone smartphone technology may
soon be able to toss a Frisbee halfway across the world, send
drawings to friends and family, and get wake-up calls through
applications developed this fall by Rose-Hulman Institute of
Happy With Application: Ian Cundiff, a sophomore computer
science student, showcases the MSSDraw iPhone application that he
developed during a fall quarter class at Rose-Hulman Institute of
The high-tech applications were designed in a new iPhone
programming course brought to the campus by David Fisher, assistant
professor of mechanical engineering. The course focused on a
hands-on approach with an application-driven teaching
Among eight applications developed during the 10-week course was
iFrisbee, a product that allows people, using multiple iPhones, to
play an interactive Frisbee game. One person flicks the disk
through wireless technology to another designated player, who must
trigger a capture -- or catch -- of the moving object. There is
also a single player game option. Nick Crawford, a sophomore
computer science student, and Mark Vitale, a sophomore software
engineering student, used GameKit software framework to set up the
application, which may be available on iTunes' App Store by
"We still have more work to do, but are excited to see everything
come together," states Crawford. "We both plan on making
applications together and independently as time goes on with the
skills learned in this course . . . I've used Apple computers since
I was little, so the prospect of creating applications for a
mainstream product seemed pretty exciting."
| Frisbee Players: Bringing Frisbee to iPhones
throughout the world could be Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
students Mark Vitale (left) and Nick Crawford with their iFrisbee
Vitale added: "For me, it came down to learning valuable skills.
Mobile development is a highly sought after skill set, especially
iOS programming, and this class has opened up some new
opportunities in my career field."
Another application, MMSDraw, offers persons the opportunity to
send sketches and other artwork to other iPhone users. Practical
uses for this technology could have children sending doodles to
family members traveling throughout the world; businesses could
send simple draft drawings about projects; and colleagues could
exchange work notes -- by a click on the phone. A simple shake
clears the image from the phone, similar to an Etch A Sketch pad.
The project was developed by Ian Cundiff, a sophomore computer
"There are iPhone applications for everything imaginable, but
nothing quite like this," Cundiff stated. "I have had an iPhone for
some time but had no idea about how applications were created. Now,
I have made one myself. That's neat and an opportunity that most
sophomores don't get in college."
Playing Games: Tim Wentz, a senior software engineering
major, demonstrates his Tiltpong iPhone application that was
created during a new course at Rose-Hulman Institute of
Tiltpong is an application, created by senior software
engineering student Tim Wentz, which allows persons with two
iPhones to play the popular pong video game, keeping the ball from
getting to the end of the playing screen. OpenGL ES software was
used to create the game's full programmable 3D graphics.
Two alarm clock applications were developed -- NeverSnooze, by
junior software engineering student Peter Brousalis, in which the
iPhone user must correctly answer a challenging math question to
turn off the wake up call feature; and Simple Alarm, by Jack Hall,
a junior computer science student.
Meanwhile, the RoseMap application provides a glimpse into the
Rose-Hulman campus, with its buildings, classrooms, laboratories
and students' residence hall rooms. It was developed by Victoria
Zheng, a sophomore computer science student, using Map Kit
framework. Similar services are currently available at Harvard,
Stanford, Texas A&M and Rice.
"I was very interested in iPhone development and when I heard
about this course I was really excited," Zheng stated. "It
definitely met my expectations. I learned a lot and had a lot of
fun. It was not hard, but just different from what I used to do. I
enjoyed the course a lot and would definitely recommend it to other
people if it is taught again."
Mapping Out Campus: Victoria Zheng's RoseMap iPhone
application will allow persons to quickly find persons living on
the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology campus
Fisher introduced the iPhone development course to the
Rose-Hulman curriculum to introduce application programming for iOS
devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) after working at Apple Inc.
the past three summers. Students learned the design principles used
in iPhone app development as the tools (Xcode and Interface
Builder), language (Objective-C) and object oriented programming
environment (Cocoa Touch).
"Programming for mobile devices is going to be the wave of the
future and it's great that we can provide this opportunity," said
Fisher, who has also developed several iPhone applications.
"Hopefully, students can now look for jobs at companies interested
in iOS app developmnet, as well as, put a few apps on the iTunes
store for fun and potential sales . . . I'm always impressed at
student creativity and their ideas for iPhone apps were no
exception. Students had very creative and unique ideas for their
apps and I was delighted to see the results. I hope some of their
apps find their way to the iTunes app store in the near future. The
class was a great success and the students really enjoyed the
Insight About the iPhone SDK Programming
The multidisciplinary course focuses on a hands-on approach with
very few traditional lectures. Topics were introduced as needed
with an application-driven teaching approach. Professor David
Fisher states: "It works very well to spend less time talking
about iOS development and more time
doing iOS development." Most of the course lectures were
basic applications that focused on teaching one core topic. "We'd
work on that app and talk about the details of
that iOS topics as we developed the application," Fisher
said. "The theory would come during the demonstration to give
students a better hands-on understanding." Course videos were
posted online at www.rose-hulman.edu/iosprogramming.
Lectures can also be found via podcast on the iTunes
Store by doing a search for "Rose-Hulman."
More on the career success of Rose-Hulman Graduates.