Seneviratne, Miao, and Shih are building disaster-relief phone apps on the fly

October 9, 2013

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Qatar Computing Research Institute have developed new tools that allow people with minimal programming skill to rapidly build cellphone applications that can help with disaster relief. The tools are an extension of the App Inventor, open-source software that enables nonprogrammers to create applications for devices running Google’s Android operating system by snapping together color-coded graphical components. Based on decades of MIT research, the App Inventor was initially a Google product, but it was later rereleased as open-source software managed by MIT.

The researchers presented their new tools in a paper at the Workshop on Semantic Cities last month in Beijing. The MIT researchers on the paper — principal research scientist Lalana Kagal, graduate students Oshani Seneviratne, Daniela Miao and Fu-ming Shih, and postdoc Ilaria Liccardi — are all members of CSAIL’s Decentralized Information Group (DIG). Continue reading the rest of the article on MIT NewsPhoto by Christine Daniloff.

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