A final-year project by two RMIT information technology students has developed into a successful app which has now passed the half million download mark.
The First Time Pregnancy app was created by Henry Bezuidenhout and Michael MacRae during their studies under the supervision of Dr Charles Thevathayan at the School of Computer Science and Information Technology.
The application aims to provide support to first time mothers by illustrating how the foetus is developing throughout the pre-natal period.
Users are requested to enter the expected due date of the baby, and from there they receive notifications detailing what to expect, including ‘milestone alerts’ of important events such as the first heartbeat.
Bezuidenhout said that information overload can often lead to confusion and anxiety for first time mothers and so the app was a way of collating information specifically tailored to their stage of pregnancy.
“While there is a lot of information available on the internet about pregnancy, we were not able to find any other apps that provide a personal journey,” Bezuidenhout said.
“Searching for weekly information via Google can be draining, so our app aims to be a simpler and more efficient way of receiving the facts you need.”
The app was made available to the public via the Google Playstore at the end of their final semester and its success has led to the start of a new business.
“Since it was published the app has been accruing new downloads every day and at this point, we have over half a million unique visitors.
“We have met the kinds of challenges that every developer faces, such as keeping up with new and upcoming devices and complying with ever-changing Google policies.”
Overall, Bezuidenhout said the experience had been a positive one for both of them.
“We have heard some amazing stories from first-time mums and we’ve received some very friendly and heart-warming ratings,” he said.
“Personally, it’s been rewarding to know that thousands of pregnant women are interacting with our product on a daily basis.”
The students worked closely with a medical doctor to ensure the accuracy of their content while Thevathayan guided them in applying the IT principles taught as part of their degree.
He said they were enthusiastic students with a very positive attitude to learning.
“What sets Henry and Michael apart is their willingness to explore new technologies and their desire to help the community at large,” Thevathayan said.
“They are an inspiration to all students wanting to work on challenging, real-life projects.
“This project shows how students can build a foundation for their future career or business while still studying at RMIT.”
Bezuidenhout and MacRae are now in full swing as app developers under the moniker of their own company, amiiSolutions.
They are currently making the final touches to the First Time Pregnancy app and plan to have an iOS version up and running soon.
“We are excited and very keen to expand the accessibility of our app across all platforms,” Bezuidenhout said.
“Michael and I enjoy solving challenging tasks and developing software requires specific skills to solve complex problems.
“Knowing that you are part of the solution makes it all worthwhile.”