Sneak Peak At Android Apps Out of MIT

A class at MIT built some mobile apps for Google’s Android operating system and presented them today. CrunchGear’s own superblogger Doug Aamoth reports on the seven apps—loco, Flare, GeoLife, Re:public, Locale, Kei, and snap—that he saw. Below is a slightly edited version of the original post:



Loco is a mobile social network built on top an Android phone’s contact manager, so anyone in your contacts is already your friend, so to speak. You’ll be able to view and track where your friends are located using Google Maps and real-time geolocation.

So, in essence, you can check out the scene at a few places before you commit to going all the way across town. I’m done with “scenes” since I’m now married, but this would have been cool for College Doug. He was a pretty awesome dude.

flare Flare

Flare is a geolocation tracking system aimed at small business owners who want to keep tabs on their employees. The demonstration given was that of a pizza delivery boy who has five pizzas to deliver. If a couple of customers call up to ask why they haven’t gotten their pizza yet, the delivery guy’s manager can use any web-based system to check out the location of his driver.

What’s more, he can give an ID number and PIN code to the customers, which the customers can then use to track the pizza guy themselves. Thankfully, that PIN code can be set to expire after a certain amount of time and/or each customer’s specific tracking privileges can be cut off by the manager or the driver himself.

geolife GeoLife

GeoLife is basically your to-do list on top of Google Maps. When you get within a certain range of something you need to pick up, it alerts you.

It also works as a traditional to-do list for things that aren’t location-based. The team that put this together is also working on a route-creation system wherein you could pick a few important items from your list and then have a route plotted out for you to follow that day.


republic I thought that RE:Public was a brilliantly funny idea. It’s basically a location-based social networking service for finding new friends once you get tired of your old ones. You connect locally based on a radius that you feed into the program and meet people based on dovetailing interests.

The real brilliance lies in the fact that you can rate and tag each friend and the system automatically updates each friend’s score based on how much time you spend near each other. So after a while, you can see who your “top friends” are.

Tags that are given to people on the network can be voted up and down by other users, so if one person tags me as “jerk”, all my real friends can vote that tag far enough down that it eventually disappears. That, or I’ll find out that my friends actually think I’m a jerk and I can start finding new friends. It’s the circle of life!

locale Locale (winner of the Android Project – top 50)

Locale actually just finished in the top 50 applications for Google’s Android Project competition, so congratulations to the team. Nice work, indeed.

Locale is a dynamic settings manager. You set up different settings for your phone based on time and location. So when you’re at home, you can automatically have all your calls forwarded to your home phone line. When you’re at work, you can have your phone set to silent mode and have your phone’s background screen set to a constantly updating work chart. That kind of stuff.

There’s already an API available for other developers to tap into Locale to set up profiles and settings for events and itineraries.

kei KEI

KEI has been a dream of mine for some time. It’s basically a Bluetooth key for all your stuff. In this early version, it was demonstrated as an automatic car starter and unlocker so you don’t have to try to find your car keys all the time.

It’s built so that multiple people can control the same car and/or multiple cars can be controlled by a single phone. Security is handled via 128-bit encryption and there will be an administrative interface so you can cut your ex-lover’s access off when the two of you break up.

snap snap

Snap is kind of like Digg on a map. People can tag certain places and then other users can vote that particular attraction up or down.

So if you’re in a new city, you can pull up your current location and find things around you that other people think are interesting.

If there’s a particular user that’s uploaded a bunch of cool stuff, you can subscribe to his or her stuff. Arrows on the map change color the more popular they get. Very cool.