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ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY
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MEET School boy S. Arjun whose school bus locator app has won him the MIT App Inventor award

DREAMING BIGS. Arjun
DREAMING BIGS. Arjun

By inventing a school bus locator app (Ez School Bus Locator), S. Arjun, a class VII student of Velammal Vidyashram, Chennai, has done his school and family proud. Winner of the MIT App Inventor contest in the K-8 division, Arjun’s app was considered “one of the most creative and well thought out app of any age group.”

Young start

Arjun began dabbling with technology at the age of two. “Back then, I had been using programming software meant for kids. Later on, when I wanted to make more powerful applications, I started looking out for other tools. After mastering Logo and Scratch sometime back, I tried exploring Visual Basic on my own and started on a few basic applications,” he says.

His father suggested MIT App Inventor as a place to learn programming when he stumbled upon the contest. “It was two weeks before the submission date and I put in extra effort to finish it in time to submit. My parents helped me in the technical and design aspects of creating the app,” he adds, “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.”

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.

He has already approached his school, which has agreed to run it as a pilot programme. “I had presented this app to my school management and they have been very supportive. They have agreed to run it this academic year and then, implement it as a full-fledged service the next academic year onwards.”

Ez School Bus Locator was also featured as the Mashup of the Day on Programmable Web, the world’s largest API and Mashup directory. “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.”

ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY

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