Like thousands of people in the country, 15-year-old Prathik Mohapatra too was rattled by the gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in Delhi last December. He stayed glued to the television and read extensively about cases of sexual crimes.
Following the outrage and protests, Prathik decided to act. His mission was to come up with a solution to help people in distress, and after months of brainstorming, the teenager decided to create an app – Emergency Hub – that would immediately connect users to five essential helplines – child abuse, women’s helpline, police, ambulance and fire service.
Explaining why he decided to develop the app, Prathik says, “A quick survey among my friends revealed that they had an idea about emergency numbers for police and ambulance but nobody was aware of the other helplines. This app has been designed to address that. Moreover, when people are in an emergency they do not have time to think. They can use the app and act fast to get help.”
The app is currently available on Android phones and on the Windows Phone store.
Apart from ensuring that a user is able to call helplines, the app also helps people inform their friends and relatives that they need help by sending a pre-typed message via SMS or by updating status on various social networking sites.
The app was released last week on Google Play and has already received a good response. Most users, says Prathik, find the app “easy to use.”
This app however is not been the first one that he developed. The software engineer aspirant’s two prior apps are Calculator Plus and Calculator Hub.
He describes Calculator Plus as his first “amateurish” attempt at programming which aimed to develop a complex calculator.
Based on the feedback and lessons for his first app, he decided to integrate all the calculators under one platform and called it Calculator Hub. “Calculator Hub can calculate the body mass index, percentages and almost anything you would need for day-to-day calculations.”
In a short span of time, these three apps together have received 1,153 downloads.
Prathik says that while he got some assistance at the Windows 8 App labs, most of his work has been done on “trial and error basis.”
“Spotting a bug or a hurdle was interesting as I got to know more about technology and its challenges.”
Although programming has been his “craze” since he was in class six, the 10th Standard student who lives near Thippasandra says that he now wants to ensure that his future apps create awareness about relevant social issues.
However, Prathik admits that he needs to go beyond programming in order to make his app user friendly.
“First the app needs to be simple to use and needs to be backed by research. Apart from that the design interface needs to be catchy.”