AT&T has awarded an 11-year-old girl $20,000 after her hackathon app wowed the company’s representatives. The youngster created a concept for a mobile app that discourages texting while driving by crowd sourcing responsibility for other user’s actions. Texting while driving has become a big concern as accidents caused while texting have continued to increase and in some cases claimed lives.
The hackathon winner, Victoria Walker, worked with designer David Grau to develop the Rode Dog mobile application.
Rode Dog works by placing groups of users into “packs,” which allows other users in their pack to check their mobile devices to see if their friends are texting while driving. If a user is spotted performing the illegal maneuver, their phone starts barking until they stop texting while driving.
The developers hope to bring the app to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices before the end of 2012. The $20,000 is being used to develop the app, which will be released for free. To earn money, the company will allow users to purchase new alert sounds from within the application.
AT&T Wireless has been working to curb driving while texting for a while now; in fact, their own DriveMode app for Android and BlackBerry smartphones disables texting and calling features while on the road.
AT&T has also announced plans to create an app that would block calls and texting remotely. The new app would allow parents to ensure that their children cannot drive dangerously because of cellular device use.
The hackathon was created to increase awareness for the company’s “It Can Wait” campaign, and the event was held in August.