Feb. 23, 2018

Computer Science students get creative in Hunter Hub Collision Space

Public invited to provide feedback on iOS app prototypes March 7

In the Advanced iOS Development computer science course, fourth-year undergraduate students are immersed in learning how app development works in the real world — from the spark of an idea to a working prototype.

When graduate student Sasha Ivanov was hired to teach the winter 2018 offering of the course, he quickly realized the Hunter Hub Collision Space would be the perfect venue for some of the sessions.

“The course begins with invited guests from industry coming to the university to talk to students about app development and life at a startup,” says Ivanov. “As the semester progresses, student teams present their app projects to the class and industry experts in collaborative feedback sessions.

“With Hunter Hub’s vision of starting conversations that encourage entrepreneurial thinking on our campus, I thought this course and the Collision Space would be a great fit.” 

The student teams can choose to develop their own apps or work with real-world industry clients on business projects over the semester. Christian Jacob, computer science professor and current department head, taught the course the previous three years.

“This course is unique in that it combines teamwork, software development and entrepreneurship,” Jacob says. “The goal is by semester’s end, for each student team to have their app to the point where it can be submitted to the iTunes App Store and available to the public.”

Instructor Sasha Ivanov, sitting, left, discusses feedback with Nursing Posture app team.

Instructor Sasha Ivanov, sitting, left, discusses feedback with Nursing Posture app team.

Susan Cannon, University of Calgary

Unique apps in development

This semester 39 students are working in teams to research, build and test an app prototype. Three teams chose to work with clients on the following apps:

  • MyBeauty Expert, which allows makeup specialists to display their work through Instagram
  • Nursing Posture, facilitating good posture and tracking of other health statistics
  • Paddle Station Tours, allowing rafters to learn about points of interest along the Bow River through their phone camera

The remaining teams developed their own prototypes: Fruit of the Fallen, an educational game; Park++, an app that condenses downtown Calgary parking signs into a more visually appealing format; Beer Googles for intelligent beer identification; UniLife, a navigational tool for finding UCalgary rooms using a 3D map; and the Shelf app that consolidates information on products in your home.

Hunter Hub Collision Space encourages entrepreneurial thinking and collaborations

Funded by a $10-million gift from the Hunter Family Foundation, the 2,500-square-foot Collision Space (MSC 171) is centrally located in the lower level of the MacEwan Student Centre next to the university bookstore. Its interactive space can accommodate between 25 and 120 people, depending on the use.

“The Collision Space is a fantastic venue for collaborative activities, hackathons, competitions, forums, meetups and workshops. It’s modern, flexible, has a great AV infrastructure and is in the heart of campus,” says Kim Neutens, interim director of the Hunter Hub. “We welcome students, faculty, postdocs and staff — all of our UCalgarians — into the Collision Space for our own programs and events, and encourage them to create their own innovation event and host it themselves in this amazing space.”

Prototype of 3D map used in UniLife navigational app.

Prototype of 3D map used in UniLife navigational app.

Susan Cannon, University of Calgary

March iOS feedback and presentation sessions open to public

The final iOS prototype feedback session open to the public will take place in the Collision Space March 7 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. 

“In the peer testing session, each student team will have their own station where visitors can test a prototype and provide feedback,” says Ivanov. “With input from the public, classmates, and industry experts, the students’ prototypes will become more refined and closer to a fully polished product for the end of the semester.”

The public is also welcome to the students’ app presentations on March 14 at the same time and location — no registration is required. More information can be found on the Hunter Hub calendar.

The Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking is the University of Calgary’s new multidisciplinary initiative to engage and immerse students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community in a culture of entrepreneurial thinking, challenging them with a new and bold approach to teaching, learning, discovery and knowledge-sharing.