Introducing the TechnoMum App! by Joanna Arida (’13)
TechGirls are always up to something! Recently, TechGirls alum Joanna Arida of Jordan (’13) sent us this update. We are continually impressed with what innovations and experiences our TechGirls seek out–Joanna is an accomplished artist, volunteer with Buddhist organization Tzu Chi, and now, an app creator!
I’ve always wondered what being involved in a tech company would be like. Would I get bored? Discover new things? Create new pathways for what is to come? Those questions wandered my mind until I found my opportunity to answer them.
Recently, Microsoft held a 2-month competition in Jordan called “Technology Rocks!” They invited school students to create games or applications for Windows phones. Microsoft provided any devices or software that were needed during the competition. Each participating school nominated two leaders—I was one of them. The leaders then created a team that worked together to create/use technology to help others. Choosing a team was easy—the tricky part was figuring out how we could make our team stand out from others.
My team was made up of me and three other girls: Aya Masadeh, Haya Basmachi, and Rama Bagaeen. Due to our past experiences with technology and our friendship, we figured that the four of us would make a good team. Our IT teacher volunteered to be our coach and guided us through the competition. We researched various topics and issues within our community that we might be able to solve. We wanted to target an issue in our community that would also be applicable to other countries abroad.
Most applications these days seem to target teenagers, with all of their creativity and ability. So we asked ourselves, how about a Windows app that would help mothers instead? And that’s how we came up with TechnoMum.
Many mothers face difficulties watching over their children while attending to other important tasks. Disabled parents—such as deaf or blind mothers/fathers—may face challenges to watching their kids. A child may fall down, cry, or get hurt, and the parent might not notice because of their overloaded schedule or disability. Not to mention that watching your baby 24-7 can be quite exhausting!
TechnoMum was designed to make a mother’s life easier. It consists of two devices: a mobile phone and the Kinect. The Kinect is a device that scans the baby’s body and detects its voice in a safe and secure way. By using voice recognition, the Kinect monitors the child’s voice. If the baby begins to cry, an alarm will instantly be sent to the mother’s phone to notify her that her baby is crying. In this way, the Kinect watches over the baby while the mother is away. The app also includes a reminder and list of healthy foods and two YouTube channels about infant nutrition and exercise.
TechnoMum’s next big step is to use the Kinect’s motion detection in order for the device to identify the infant’s movement and gestures. The Kinect will recognize the cradle’s perimeter and if the baby moves out of the perimeter, an alarm is sent to the mother’s mobile.
What humankind is able to do with technology is limitless. Technology is a powerful tool that we knew we could use to help our community. This experience helped us to see things from the eyes of a programmer. The world of coding has profound effects on humankind. At first, the application seemed impossible because we didn’t know how to code on a professional level. With the help of our coach, we studied and worked hard until we could get the application done. For us, the road to success was hard work, dedication, and determination, and that’s what we did: we filled in the gaps and coded our way towards the app’s completion.
Through participating in this competition, we learned how to cope with pressure, be hyper-aware, and effectively organize our time to meet deadlines. We challenged our creativity and ourselves when creating the TechnoMum app and bringing it into fruition. Luckily, TechnoMum won third place, which was something to be proud of. Not only did we win, but we also gained experience, knowledge, and an opportunity of a lifetime.
Follow TechnoMum on Twitter @technomumapp