Are kids these days really as hopeless and self-absorbed as we claim? Perhaps not.
The next wave of tech extraordinaires seem to get younger and younger, and the app-creating students mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg.
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Check out the apps below from impressive, pint-sized developers, who’ve accomplished much more before high school than most people more than twice their age.
New Hampshire’s Hampstead Academy is a strictly peanut-free zone due to the relatively high number of students with nut allergies.
This inspired the school’s eighth graders to create the cleverly named Chow Checker app, which identifies food allergens to determine if certain foods, from grocery stores or restaurants, are safe to eat.
You can create a profile and select up to 12 allergens, and then search for a product name or scan a barcode. Either option pulls up a list of ingredients in that food, as well as nutritional content.
The app taps into the daily updated Nutritionix food database, which includes more than 300,000 food items. You can add notes about the food for future reference.
Hampstead students worked with the MIT Media Lab to write the app, which was a Verizon Innovative App Challenge winner in 2013.
Available for free on Android.
When he was 14 years old, Robert Nay’s physics-based puzzle game, Bubble Ball, unseated the seemingly indomitable Angry Birds for the iTunes App Store’s top spot in January 2011. Not bad for someone who created his first website in third grade and already owns his own company, Nay Games LLC.
Nay wrote Bubble Ball with Corona tools from Ansca Mobile. It took him roughly 4,000 lines of code.
The app capitalizes on players’ creativity, prompting you to set up lengths of wood and metal, and activate various power-ups to manipulate your bubble for the sake of reaching the goal.
There are 144 official levels, and because anyone can create a new level, the game is constantly evolving. There are already more than 200 community-created levels to explore.
David Singer’s app, Backdoor, removes a key component of communication — identity.
Backdoor, which launched in July 2013, is an anonymous messaging app that lets you reach your friends by signing in through either Facebook or Google+. The app gives you clues to learn more about the sender’s identity. In-app purchases provide additional clues, such as gender, likes, interests and more.
Cashing in on people’s desperation and curiosity? Color us impressed.
Singer, who considers himself primarily a UI designer, was 13 years old when he wrote the app. He’s the same kid behind YouTell, the popular website that allows you to post questions and solicit anonymous feedback.
Available for free on iOS.
Second through fifth graders from Jackson County, Mich., worked with two high schoolers in the same district to create iPad app Things to Think About.
Its premise is to jumpstart and foster children’s interest in writing and critical thinking, as well as encourage dialogue about challenging ideas and issues.
The app asks kids to dream big, think through “what would you do” scenarios and expands horizons past kids’ environments.
The students brainstormed 100 writing prompts in 12 categories, including Friends, Family, School, Fun and Feelings. A student’s original hand-drawn illustration and the option of a child’s short voice narration accompanies each prompt.
Available for free on iOS. An Android version is under process.