South Fayette students met with programmers from MIT.

Few things are as scary for a parent than not knowing where your child is. That’s why a group of South Fayette Township SD (Allegheny Co.) high school and middle school students joined together to develop an app to help parents track when their children get on and off the school bus. Their efforts won them a National Infosys Maker Award for BusBudE, including a $10,000 grant for the district.

The app, which is still in beta testing, uses Near Field Communication (NFC) tags attached to students’ backpacks. Upon entering or leaving the bus, the students scan the tag with an NFC reader on a smartphone. The student information is then sent by text message to the child’s parent or guardian providing them with time and location of the pickup or drop off.

Students also are partnering with MIT Media Lab to develop the app. The students are even serving as guest bloggers on the MIT site.

The team includes co-project Managers: Joe Cavanaugh (grade: 11), Parv Shrivastava (grade: 8); Director of Computer Programming: Sam Cohen (grade: 11); Computer Programming Team: Anish Thangavelu (grade: 8), Vinay Pedapati (grade: 9); and Director of Business Marketing: Meghan Banerjee (grade: 12). The group is part of the Emerging Innovation Leaders Program led by South Fayette’s Director of Technology and Innovation Aileen Owens.

Find out more on South Fayette’s website.