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11-year-old Girl Wins $20K from AT&T for Road Safety App

Texting while driving is considered pretty bad practice and is banned by most states in some capacity or another. However, though it's been banned, getting people to stop texting while driving is another problem entirely. AT&T recently awarded an 11-year-old girl $20,000 for her part in designing a smartphone application that would discourage people from texting while behind the wheel.

The LA Times reports that sixth grader Victoria Walker designed Rode Dog as part of a collaboration with David Grau, a creative director and designer at WLDG. The application was made at the "It Can Wait" Hackathon run by AT&T in LA a couple of weeks ago. Participants were asked to come up with an app to discourage people from texting and driving. Out of 120 participants and five semi-finalists, 11-year-old Walker and her partner Grau took home the top prize of $20,000.

The idea behind Rode Dog is to have one group of drivers work together to keep each other from texting while driving. Users create a "pack" of people they know and then check to see if other members of the pack are using their phone to text while operating a car. If the answer is yes, a member of the pack can send them a warning that arrives in the form of a barking noise that won't stop until the alert has been acknowledged and silenced.

The $20,000 from AT&T will go towards bringing Rode Dog to market. Walker, who met Grau at the hackathon, said she came up with the idea while listening to her three dogs barking. It's not yet clear when the application will be available for download and for which platforms, but we'll keep you posted. We'd also be interested in learning if the app still works when you have your phone on silent. 

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  • rebel1280
    This or put wifi on the car ecu and hack into it and drop the speed down until car turns off, then it messages your phone saying when you power down your phone, car will restart. Don't text and drive, whatever your texting is not worth the potentially devastating repercussions.
    Reply
  • Ninjamonkeh
    How would the program know if your the driver or a passenger. Also What if your friends are all Dicks and alert you at 3am while your asleep.
    Reply
  • slicedtoad
    "a barking noise that won't stop until the alert has been acknowledged and silenced"
    uhh, so if your friend is an asshole, you will have to get the phone out of your pocket and read the message and press a button before it stops barking? Sound like they're making the problem worse.
    Reply
  • bllue
    Or someone could be in a really bad mood and attempts to shut the alarm off while driving at 70 mph on the highway and having to unlock the phone plus turning off the alarm causes the driver to not paid attention for a considerable amount of time, thus causing a car accident.
    Reply
  • digiex
    Didn't they consider that the persistent barking alarm will be a distraction to the driver and turning it off will cause the driver to loose focus while driving.
    Reply
  • lpedraja2002
    "a member of the pack can send them a warning that arrives in the form of a barking noise that won't stop until the alert has been acknowledged and silenced."

    So you basically have to operate the phone while driving? Also the possibility of your pack being dicks and sending bark messages to cock block you or something else lol.
    Reply
  • memadmax
    There's better ways of doing this.

    If GPS &| Accelerometer == > 20mph;
    And If Facial recognition detects bottom of steering wheel && Drivers door(to right from camera point of view);
    Then disable texting;
    End If;
    Reply
  • sirencall
    "a barking noise that won't stop until the alert has been acknowledged and silenced"
    So to discourage distracted driving caused by phone use you make an app that distracts the driver until they respond to it and silence it? Pretty much just calling the person while they are driving to tell them to stop texting and driving, yeah that makes sense. I wonder what the other ideas were, a text message to tell you to stop texting but you will keeping getting texted until you reply?
    Reply
  • memadmax
    rebel1280This or put wifi on the car ecu and hack into it and drop the speed down until car turns off, then it messages your phone saying when you power down your phone, car will restart. Don't text and drive, whatever your texting is not worth the potentially devastating repercussions.
    This causes safety concerns of its own. If you turn off the car while it's still moving then the driver will have degraded steering control and loss of braking power..... This could cause and accident on its own.
    Reply
  • confish21
    screw all this crap
    Reply