ERW Challenge Winners: Interview With Flare Developer

Q: Please introduce the main features/characteristics of your application.

A: The application has two parts: the web application where authorities can see reports of landmines made by citizens, and an Android application that is installed on phone’s specially set up by authorities. This allows a citizen with any kind of phone: Android, iOS, or a non smartphone (which most people in developing countries have) to send text messages to these specially set up Android phones that upload them onto the web application for easy access. From the web application, the authorities can take actions like thank the user who sent the report, to take action however they deem.

Q: What was the motive behind the development of this application? Be specific. Ie) Was there a significant moment or story that made you want to develop this type of app?

A: I felt that many current solutions to problems in developing countries are made on the false assumption that citizens have smartphones, which is not the case. A solution was required that could easily be accessible for anyone with a phone which could send text messages.

Q: Why did your team compete in the Explosive Remnants of War and Land Mine Reporting Apps Challenge?

A: My team competed in the challenge create a working solution which could actually be deployed in countries having these problems. With a couple of modifications to the Android and Web applications for security purposes, we could actually imagine Flare being deployed in these countries.

Q: Could you tell us about any of you (or your company’s) achievements that you want to share with the STAR-TIDES community?

A: I’m a sophomore studying Computer Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, and have won another challenge in which my team created an application for educational purposes on password security, and have published the app on Google Play (Android).

Q: What are your long-term plans for the application?

A: I believe, as mentioned earlier, that with a few modifications, the application can actually be deployed in developing countries, if given the chance. If this is not possible, I would try to innovate on the features already on the app, and add even more features for people with smartphones. Currently, anyone with the Android app can even select their location to send to the authorities, and I would add voice note recording to easily send voice notes regarding the situation so ordinary people wouldn’t have to type out a description of the landmine.

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About startides

TIDES Research Assistant Intern
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