22 April 2013
KOKOMO, Ind. — Andrew Boehner combined his Android programming skills with his concern for his grandmother's safety to create a fall detection application for smart phones.
Boehner, 24, an informatics student at Indiana University Kokomo, developed his project to improve on current technology. Most fall detection devices require the user to wear a device wrapped around the chest or torso, and do not take advantage of smart phones.
Users of his app wear a watch programmed to send data to the smart phone if he or she falls. The phone then calls emergency responders for help.
"My grandmother's phone has an SOS button on it, but if the phone is on the charger, it's no help to her if she falls," he said. "With my app, it doesn't matter where the phone is, or if she has it in her hands. Her generation of senior citizens is pretty tech savvy, and have smart phones. Most of them are also used to wearing a watch, so this technology will be easy for them to use."
The fall detection app is Boehner's latest creation. He has published a few Android games on Google Play, but said the fall detection app is still in development, not ready for market.
He developed the idea while researching with Gongjun Yan, assistant professor of informatics. Yan encouraged him to apply to present at the 27th National Conference on Undergraduate Research, at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. He recently participated in the conference, and his research also was published in the conference journal.
"I was really excited for the opportunity to share my work with other students, and to meet people who are researching in this area," he said. "I am grateful for the chance to research with my professors, and to show what I've learned."
Yan teaches up to date Android programming in his class, and is proud of Boehner's success in this area.
"Overall, Andrew is one of my best students," Yan said. "He is self-motivated and capable. His intensive research has paid off in this prestigious opportunity to present and publish his work."
Boehner, from Tipton, enjoys the programming process, and said working with his professors on these hands-on opportunities has helped him learn more about his potential career field. He plans to study bioinformatics in graduate school after earning his degree from IU Kokomo.
"I hear something in class discussion, and I think about how I can apply it to one of my projects," he said. "I remember more of it when I've actually used what I learned to make something."
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.