Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Want to Hunt Down Some Taliban? There's an App for That

Nothing quite like American ingenuity. Especially when it comes to our men in the military.
His thoughts jostled him awake in the hot July night. He had dreamt up a solution to a problem he’d been wrestling with in his mind for months. He couldn’t stop thinking about it. He eventually rolled out of bed with a renewed sense of purpose, and called his wife, Katie, then his parents.

U.S. Army Capt. Jonathan J. Springer, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, had searched the Internet for a smart phone application that he could use on his deployment before leaving Fort Campbell, KY, in early May, but nothing was out there that suited his needs. He pondered the idea of inventing one of his own, but didn’t know how to do it or where to start.

“Since day one, I always believed that smart phones could be utilized by the U.S. military for combat purposes,” Springer recalled. “So, prior to this deployment, I began searching one of the online application stores for an app I could install on my phone that would assist me as the battalion fire support officer during our deployment here in eastern Afghanistan’s Pech River Valley.

“I remember specifically looking for a navigational-type application that would display the Military Grid Reference System, plot waypoints, give me a direction in Mils, etc.,” said Springer, a Fort Wayne, IN, native. “But sadly, though, I found nothing tailored to what I truly wanted or needed before getting on the bird to head to Afghanistan.”

“I remember waking up in the middle of the night and coming up with an idea for a smart phone application that I just needed to start developing,” said Springer. “It was weird how the whole thing happened – waking up to a dream about an idea and whatnot. Needless to say, after that moment, I decided to begin the process for the app’s development.”

After speaking to his family about the idea to invent his own app, he began working in his spare time doing research on what the project would entail.

“I started the process to legally form my own company and began trade marking my intellectual property,” he said. “After that process was complete, I bought a couple of books and tried to teach myself how to write Objective-C-based code, but that proved to be more of a time-consuming task than I wanted it to be.”

In August, he reached out to a company in Las Vegas for help and since then they have been working together nonstop to ensure his app would make it into the hands of the user before he redeploys back to Fort Campbell in the spring. So far, he said, everything is on track for that to happen — but not without a cost.

“The overall project has cost me about $26,000,” he admitted. “That includes forming my company, trademarking my IP, copyrights, creating a web site to market the app, and paying for the graphic design and the development of the application itself.”

To some, it may sound like a lot of money. But Springer said he just saw a problem and was determined to solve it, making it money well spent.

“Basically, the issue was the fact that these smart phones were being untapped by the Army and I was motivated and determined to change that, even if it cost me my own money out of pocket to do so,” he said.
Read the rest. Let's hope he makes some money off this project. And takes out a bunch of bad guys while he's at it.

1 comment:

drfredc said...

OK, so I can hunt down some Taliban should they show up in my hood...

Now for some real question about aps --

Is there an ap for "Talk like a Tea Partier". 

Seems an ap to "Talk like the GOP Losership" is easy -- seem just a blank screen would do.  Or perhaps "Instruct to bend over and look behind you...?"