Have an app idea? USC might build it for free

Professor Jose Vidal shows some of the apps previous computer science students have created. (Photo: WBTW)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW)- If you’ve ever had an idea for a smart phone app or computer app but have no idea what to do with it, the University of South Carolina wants to hear from you. Computer science students will take your idea and create the app, taking it from design to writing the code to testing the finished product, all for free.

Computer Science Professor Jose Vidal is looking for at least 30 ideas. Students will be in teams of four or five students, each team working on an idea from start to finish. The class lasts two semesters. “The goal of the class, it is basically training students to be like a software consultant. This is what you do. You go in. People have a problem. You try to figure out what the problem is, and try to design a solution and then you build it and then you get feedback from the client,” he says.

Some of the apps created by previous classes are being used now. For example, one created for geologists allows them to take a picture of a sample out in the field. The app records the GPS data of where the sample was found and saves that location, along with a reference number for the sample.

Another app, called iMentor, matches adults who want to be mentors to students who are looking for one.

Vidal requires the teams to work out with their clients, before they start a project, how they’ll handle the intellectual property rights, in case an app makes money. He says in most cases the students have an open-source license. “It gives the client, anybody, full rights to the software. They can keep using it, developing as they want, but also gives the student the ability to put it up on a website, on github, and then point employers to it, so anybody can say, ‘Hey, I did that. This is something I wrote.’ It helps with their résumés.”

Vidal says if you have an idea, email it to him, along with a description of any platform requirements, like whether you want the app to work on Android, iPhone, Windows, or what application. You can find his email address and more information at: https://cse.sc.edu/capstone/client

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