Earlier this month, AT&T held a hackathon in Los Angeles to promote “It Can Wait” campaign against texting behind the wheel. In that hackathon, 120 programmers participated to create a concept of a mobile app that can keep users away from texting while driving. An 11-year old, named Victoria Walker, created an app called Rode Dog to take the top spot.
Victoria Walker, a sixth-grader student at Dodson Middle School, developed the concept of Rode Dog app in collaboration with David Grau, a creative director and designer at WLDG (Wine Lovers’ Discussion Group) in Santa Ana. She showed a video and a slideshow presentation of her app Rode Dog to a panel of 3 judges. The judges were KTLA technology reporter Rich Demuro, Here on Biz founder Nick Smoot, and TEK consulting owner Ben Nelson.
The concept is quiet interesting. Users of Rode Dog app will be able to join a “pack” of friends and family members and then can check to see if other members of their pack are using their phones to text while driving. If they are doing so, then a pack member can send them an audible bark. The driver’s phone will start barking continuously until they acknowledge the bark and silence it by restraining himself/herself from texting.
The concept of barking dog came into Walker’s mind because her family had three dogs and the dogs used to yell to stop someone from doing something and they stopped barking at then when that someone stopped doing that. Victoria Walker said, “This app allows me to protect my parents if they are driving and texting.”
Five teams including the team of Walker and Grau were selected as finalists in the hackathon. The finalists were given 10 days to develop their apps and submit to the judges. The duo Walker and Grau became first and won the hackathon competition and got the awarded the $20,000 prize. Now, they are working out the kinks on Rode Dog with a developer to bring it in the market as soon as possible.