Students looking for an easier way to be a Hokie will be happy to know there’s now an app for that. 

The Mobile Application Development Team, or MADT, at Virginia Tech released their biggest project, HokieHelper, this semester.

The app — which the club designed, programmed and distributed for Android devices — provides an easy all-access pass to useful information on Tech’s campus. It includes everything from maps, dining and transportation, to parking and an academic calendar.

“Dining and maps are the two most important features,” said Julian Adams, MADT vice president.

The dining feature includes daily menus, diet plans and a food tracker system using nutrition facts for on-campus food. The club is in the process of upgrading the app to include a ranking and commenting system for foods so fellow app users can track what’s good and where to find it.

The maps function includes a campus map with a route calculator, capable of processing scenarios like the fastest route between two buildings on campus. In the future, it will also be capable of looking inside buildings to find classrooms and conference rooms.

HokieHelper took about 15 MADT students — mostly freshman, sophomores and juniors — two semesters of work to complete.

“We spent the first few weeks just learning about how to program for Android, going through tutorials and stuff. After teaching ourselves how to do the stuff, we got to work and actually built it,” said Avneet Singh, MADT president and aerospace engineering major.

Though the app is currently available free of charge on Android devices, the club is working to add the app to the Apple and Windows markets. They also plan to release a new version in the near future, before the Relay for Life events on campus.

“In this version, we have 870 food items, more than before,” Singh said. “We have ingredients and allergens information for every food item and an allergen filter, which we are still working on.”

“We wanted to make the app like 99 cents just for that week and donate all the profits to relay, but we found out that we can’t do that, so we are just putting a link for people to donate in the app,” said Karthik Kumar, MADT treasurer and a computer science major. 

The group itself was formed in the Spring 2011 semester and consists of about 20 members, with five groups working on different applications for different platforms. Aside from HokieHelper, the group has a few other apps available for downloading, most notably Expression Guessin’ for Windows Phone.

“The reason we started the club was to learn more about how to develop and make mobile apps,” Kumar said. “We were looking for ways to apply what we learned in class to create something concrete.”

Students can download the app at MADT’s website, www.mad.org.vt.edu.

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