Mosquito swatting game and rainwatch apps amongst winners in second annual CodeNinja competition

Students from GMIT and NUI Galway try out the Annoying Mosquito game

On 13 March, CodeNinja – an app development competition for third-level students in Galway – came to its conclusion with three prizes awarded to student teams from GMIT and NUI Galway. Through a series of workshops, CodeNinja gave students the skills and knowledge required to create their own innovative web or mobile apps. The competition was designed by local businesses and academics to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own technology ideas, and was supported by Microsoft Ireland, GitHub, OnePageCRM, Ex Ordo, and the VP for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway.

The winning entry was the “Annoying Mosquito” app developed by Chengxuan Xing and Adeel Gilani, both final year software development students at GMIT.

Their Windows Phone app relies on what is called “augmented reality” – superimposing computer-generated graphics on top of a mobile camera view of the real world – and the aim is to make anyone from adults to kids move and do more exercise when they are playing games. (The game allows players to swat a computer-generated annoying mosquito using a mobile phone.)

Paul Killoran (Founder, Ex Ordo, and NUI Galway Graduate); Adeel Gilani (GMIT Student and CodeNinja Winner), Michael Meagher (Technical Evangelist, Microsoft Ireland), Chengxuan Xing (GMIT Student and CodeNinja Winner), John Breslin (Lecturer, NUI Galway), Damien Costello (Lecturer, GMIT)

The joint runners-up were John Maguire, a final year Electronic and Computer Engineering student from NUI Galway, and Răzvan Rădulescu, an Atmospheric Science PhD researcher also from NUI Galway.

John Maguire developed a presentations speech-to-text web app for the hearing impaired, based on conversations with a community resource officer from DeafHear Galway. Lecturers can share their PowerPoint slides via the app, and the audio from videoed lectures or presentations is converted to text through a web service. For students with a hearing disability, the idea is that the lecture can be relayed to the student using this app and that he/she can see the slides, read what the lecturer is saying, and see the lecturer’s facial expressions in real time.

Răzvan Rădulescu created “Rainwatch”, an app which keeps track of a user’s location and notifies them of potential rain a few minutes before it happens. The app uses data from the service to push notifications to a user’s phone telling them about impending downpours, and runs on multiple smartphone platforms.

Tutorials were given to students by a range of startup founders and app development experts: OnePageCRM CEO Michael FitzGerald, Ex Ordo CEO Paul Killoran, NUI Galway Research Technologist David Kelly, previous CodeNinja competition winner Mike Rockall, and Windows and Xbox developer Neil Turner.

Co-organiser Dr John Breslin of NUI Galway says: “A recent study run by Gigaom Research and NUI Galway found that the EU app economy has been responsible for the creation of 1.8 million jobs, so the future is bright for Galway’s student app developers and for those who took part in the CodeNinja competition.”

“We see CodeNinja as a critical cog in building an app culture in Galway City and amongst our student population,” according to Clodagh Barry, from NUI Galway’s Research Office. “It is important in terms of its impact on students and the local economy: increasing the available skillsets and working with industry partners in the app ecosystem.”

More information on the winners is available at

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