Kent State freshman develops own app


Photo by Nikolas Kolenich.

Amy Cooknick

Think back to your first week on campus. The layout, buildings and dining areas are unfamiliar and maybe even a little overwhelming. Finding the correct class, getting there on time and locating the perfect place to grab a satisfying meal beforehand seems daunting.

Now imagine that everything you need to know about what to eat and where to go on campus is easily accessible from anywhere via an Android application.

This was the vision for Camden Fullmer, freshman computer science major and mathematics minor, when he created the Kent State Helper application for Android phones.

The app provides locations, descriptions, hours and menus for all dining places on campus, as well as general campus and parking maps, which can be accessed by Android users anywhere at any time. Kent State Helper users can also check their Flashcard balance and view meal plans or order from Rosie’s with the Rosie’s call button.

Released shortly after the KSUMobile application for iPhone and iPod touch in October, the Kent State Helper app differs in that it is only available for Android phones, not iPhones.

“I chose Android because it’s basically faster growing than iPhone,” Fullmer said. “It’s about to surpass iPhone.”

Aside from its medium, Fullmer admitted that his Kent State Helper app offers very similar information to that offered by KSUMobile, but Fullmer is currently perfecting a new feature that he called “really, really cool.” This new feature, which he declined to discuss just yet, will further separate the two apps.

Fullmer was inspired to create Kent State Helper because of the growing popularity of apps for iPhone, Android and other mobile devices.

His interest in such technology began in high school. Fullmer took almost every computer science class his school offered and applied what he learned in those classes to his own projects at home.

“I’ve worked on small projects before,” Fullmer said, “but this is the first time that I’ve made something that other people can actually use. I mean, I’ve also, like, built computers from scratch, but this is something for everybody else.”

This is Fullmer’s first attempt at an app, but he said it wouldn’t be his last.

Fullmer created Kent State Helper with the Android SDK, a basic software development kit used to build apps for Android and the Windows 7 program Eclipse. Like the actual Android phones, the SDK is provided by Google.

From here, Fullmer used a compiler to translate computer code into a readable program and an application programming interface, or API, to allow communication between devices.

Most of Fullmer’s work involves making layouts, doing some “drag and drop” work and coding with Java.

“Coding is just solving problems,” Fullmer said. “Like making an app and playing with the framework that Google provides and just putting the pieces together, basically.”

To release his app to the public, Fullmer got approval from Kent State and the director of dining services. He then paid a fee to register as a developer in Google’s marketplace for Android phones. He said it was simple to upload his app to the marketplace, and it is now just as simple for him to update the app as needed.

Currently, the Kent State Helper app has over 250 downloads even though Fullmer is still holding off promoting it until it is entirely finished. The app can be downloaded for free by searching for it on an Android phone.

Although he made no profit from the app, Fullmer said he is happy for now just to get his name out.

“I actually got (an e-mail) from an alumni,” Fullmer said. “His daughter’s coming here in the fall, and he e-mailed me saying how he loves this app and his daughter will probably use it all the time. And he noticed a bug in my software, and I fixed it for him.”

Fullmer plans to target incoming freshmen once he begins promoting his app because they are so unfamiliar with campus dining. He began working at the marketing department for the dining services website at the start of this semester, and he hopes the position will help him promote Kent State Helper.

“Apps right now are the huge thing,” Fullmer said. “As a computer science major, I wanted to show that I have done something throughout college and not just been taking classes — that I’ve actually learned something.”

Contact Amy Cooknick at [email protected].