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Computer science student’s skills help create new mobile device applications

Posted: August 18, 2011

Tim Johnsen will draw insight for his senior-year honors thesis not only from what he’s learned in his classes at Arizona State University, but from real-life business experiences.

His thesis topic is user interface design for mobile devices.

Computer science student Tim Johnsen displays the mobile application he helped develop for a business venture that is competing for a national student entrepreneurship award.

Computer science student Tim Johnsen displays the mobile application he helped develop for a business venture that is competing for a national student entrepreneurship award.

He honed his skills in that area during the past summer, serving an internship with Scribd, an up-and-coming media company. He helped launch a major new reader service application – called Float – for digital mobile devices and the web.

He’s also a partner with a fellow ASU student in a fledgling venture to develop a mobile application that helps veterinarians provide accurate medical diagnoses.

The business, Ellens Technologies, is among five finalists for the Entrepreneur Magazine College Entrepreneurship Award for 2011.

Co-founder Jeremy Ellens, a senior studying business management and entrepreneurship at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business, enlisted Johnsen as the company’s technical expert.

Johnsen, a student in ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College, plans to graduate at the end of the current fall semester with a degree in computer science from the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decisions Systems Engineering, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

He helped Ellens develop the application that works with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices to help veterinarians swiftly sift through voluminous amounts of medical data.

The Veterinary Differential Diagnosis app enables veterinarians to select a symptom exhibited by an animal, and then get information about the symptom’s possible causes. The app leads vets through a differential diagnosis process that provides rapid feedback.

“It saves valuable time during the diagnosis process and helps reduce human error,” Ellens says.

They are working on ideas to expand the app’s capabilities, to make it available on more mobile platforms, such as Android, and planning to do user studies and more market research.

For the Float project with Scribd, Johnsen got the opportunity to contribute to the application that allows users to conveniently keep up with news, blogs and web sites carrying information about their particular interests.

“It was a valuable experience because they didn’t treat me as an intern. I got to be an equal member of the iOS (operating systems) team,” he says.

It all leaves Johnsen with a number of viable options after earning his undergraduate degree.

“I might be able to go back to work for Scribd. I might decide to go right to graduate school, or maybe I’ll start my own company,” or some combination of the three, he says.

See more about Ellens Technologies on the Entrepreneur Magazine website, where you can vote for the competing teams through Sept. 12.

The winner will be announced later in the fall. The winning company will get $5,000 to help develop its product or service and will be featured in a special section in the January 2012 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine.

Joe Kullman, [email protected]
(480) 965-8122
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

About The Author

Joe Kullman

Joe Kullman is a science writer for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Before joining Arizona State University in 2006, Joe worked as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers and magazines dating back to the dawn of the age of the personal computer. He began his career while earning degrees in journalism and philosophy from Kent State University in Ohio. Media Contact: [email protected] | 480-965-8122 | Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Communications

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