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ECU wins at WAITTA

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

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An app developed by ECU students that transforms a smartphone into an emergency beacon has won a prestigious WA Information Technology Telecommunications Award (WAITTA).

Bachelor of Computer Science students Laurence Da Luz, Tyson Wolker, Huda Minhaj and Arickho Garcia took out the Student Project Category for their innovative app.

ECU's secau Security Research Centre also received top honours, with researchers David Cook, Krishnun Sansurooah and Patrtyk Szewczyk winning the Service Delivery and Training category for their project, Seniors Identity Training (SIT).

The student-designed app was developed under guidance from the WA Police and ECU's School of Computer and Security Science supervisors, Dr Martin Masek, Associate Professor Peng Lam and Dr Chang Su Lee.

It was developed in response to a need from police for more accurate search and rescue information.

"The app uses your phone to send an automated GPS location to rescuers giving them the best chance at finding survivors who are lost at land or at sea," student Laurence said.

"We are really excited with our win and look forward to working with the WA Police to ensure that the app is available on the WA market in the near future."

The app has a number of unique features, including:

  • Providing travellers with a set of 'before you go tips' from survival expert Bob Cooper, ensuring they are as prepared as possible before they leave;
  • At the push of a button sending GPS coordinates to search and rescue services, as well as the traveller's phone contacts list;
  • Providing travellers with a 'what to do in an emergency' survival guide;
  • Acting as a light source which is detected by night vision equipment in police helicopters up to four kilometres away.

The SIT program has successfully trained over 2800 seniors to date, giving them practical examples of how to stay safe online. The program educates senior citizens in a range of areas including identity theft, online banking protection and information security. 

The win has given secau the title of most significant ICT training program for 2011-2012, beating programs from private enterprise, government and industry.

'Seniors Identity Training is vital to Senior Novice Computer Users because it empowers them to engage with a digital world that was previously seen as off-limits," Mr Cook said.

For more information on the smartphone app visit the ECU website. More information on the SIT training program can be obtained by contacting David Cook.

A full list of nominees can be viewed via the WAITTA webpage.

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