Imagine Cup challenges students to do great things with technology. The innovation category challenges students to use technology to come with an innovative business idea. Team Walk Safe from Queens University has built an app to help make sure you know the people you care about have arrived safely at their destination.
- You son or daughter wants to walk to school alone.
- Your elderly relative lives at home alone, but is showing early signs of dementia, and has gotten lost coming back from the grocery store
- You are out with friends at a pub, one of them has had a little too much to drink and announces they are leaving.
Do you stop them? Do you insist on going with them? Sometimes you just want the ability to check if they arrived safely. You might ask them to text you when they arrive, but will they remember to text you? You could call them, but will they find that too invasive?
Meet WalkSafe. WalkSafe is a mobile phone application that uses social media to form a network of users that look out for one another and make each other feel safer in the streets.
To start a journey, a user selects a destination using Bing Maps, as well as an estimated arrival time. Starting a journey sends a background notification to a users trusted network. If a user does not make it to their desired destination on time, their friends will be alerted with an urgent push notification, prompting them to take action.
A user’s journey ends once they reach their destination or if they manually end the journey. A user can change their estimated time of arrival if they are delayed. If a user feels unsafe during the journey, they can send a distress signal to their network by tapping the Emergency button. This will take them to another screen from which they will able to call the police or send the location to their friends.
WalkSafe’s check-in feature automatically alerts a user’s network if they arrived safely on time to their destination, so the user doesn’t have to worry about forgetting. A user can check their notifications to see if their friends are safely on their way to their desired destinations. From the contacts page, a user can also see their friends current locations. This allows users to take care of friends wherever they are, and take appropriate action if they suspect one of their friends is in danger.
To prevent users’ data from being stolen, WalkSafe will use a public key authentication system, so that if a user’s web requests are intercepted and their identification information stolen, intruders will not be able to access their or their friends’ information.
This project was conceived and constructed by a talented team of students from Queens University: Anastasiya Tarnouskaya a Biomedical Computing student with a certificate in business, Riley Karson a Software Design student, Julie Lycklama a Software Design student, and Christopher Thomas a Software Design student.
What happens next for our winners?
They will get some advice from Canadian entrepreneurs Aron Solomon and Nathan Monk and they go head to head against the winner of the Canadian Imagine Cup World Citizenship Category to determine who represents Canada at the Imagine Cup World Finals! The world finals will take place this July in Seattle, Washington home of Microsoft headquarters. At the World Finals they will compete against other top teams from around the world for a chance to win $50,000 USD and a meeting with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella! The world finalists will also participate in a HoloLens hackathon!
Here’s a little teaser of HoloLens capabilities the top Canadian team will have a chance to explore at the World Finals hackathon. Good luck team Walk Safe!