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University students and alumni beat the clock to create new apps at Hack For Good

From left: At Hack for Good, UOIT Software Engineering students Omar Almootassem (class of 2017), Talha Zia (class of 2017) and Priyank Patel (class of 2018) developed ReapCycle, which turns recyclable items into reusable ones.
From left: At Hack for Good, UOIT Software Engineering students Omar Almootassem (class of 2017), Talha Zia (class of 2017) and Priyank Patel (class of 2018) developed ReapCycle, which turns recyclable items into reusable ones.

Students from several different programs at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) discovered they excel at working together under pressure after teaming up with recent alumni to compete in a hackathon.

Hackathons are multi-day events where computer programmers, designers and marketing professionals meet to engage in collaborative software development. In March, local e-commerce company GeekSpeak hosted Hack For Good, a hackathon focused on developing apps that address social or environmental issues.

Here’s what two teams of UOIT students and alumni created in 36 hours:

UOIT Software Engineering students Priyank Patel and Omar Almootassem work on their ReapCycle app during Hack for Good.
Priyank Patel and Omar Almootassem work on their ReapCycle app during the hackathon.

ReapCycle

Software Engineering students Omar Almootassem (class of 2017), Talha Zia (class of 2017) and Priyank Patel (class of 2018) developed ReapCycle, which turns recyclable items into reusable ones.

“Everyone has scrap materials in their garage, stuff they think they ‘might need’ but probably won’t,” says Almootassem. “ReapCycle helps you decide whether to throw these items out or give them away to other people.”

ReapCycle examines the option of selling raw materials such as scrap metal to prospective buyers rather than sending items to the landfill. It also features do-it-yourself videos people can post with ideas for creating useful things out of the items that they ‘reaped’ through the app.

Odd Jobbs

Odd Jobbs is the brainchild of Anthony Ridding (Kinesiology, class of 2015). This app connects people looking for help with a small task, with community members looking to earn money. Ridding says the idea came to him after shoveling an elderly neighbour’s driveway.

“A seed was planted,” says Ridding.  “It occurred to me that if this person needed help, there must be many more people in the exact same situation.”

Ridding says Odd Jobbs can cover any small job, from snow removal to grass cutting or furniture moving.

Almootassem and Ridding credit their university experience for providing them with the skills and tools they needed to develop new apps in a tight timeframe.

“I’ve always loved technology,” says Ridding. “The opportunity to be immersed in a technology-rich learning environment was the driving force behind my decision to study at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.”

“We learned to delegate tasks to each other during our time at the university,” says Almootassem. “In our Software Engineering courses, we were also introduced to some of the software products and programming languages we used at the hackathon.”

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