Software engineering and IT students from the Australian National University (ANU) are tapping into the growing fitness and social networking industries, launching their own fitness app – PairFit.
The four students - Andrew, Emmanuel, Arash and Monday - have been developing the app over the course of the year, as part of the TechLauncher program.
The inspiration came from a friend of Arash, who moved to Sydney without knowing anyone and wanted to find someone of a similar fitness level to work out with at the gym, and to make friends.
“PairFit is based on a reliability and commitment points system; you create a profile which includes details such as your fitness level, gym memberships, sports played, and you can then look through profiles to find a partner that matches you” says Arash.
“The app connects people and encourages fitness as a way to break down barriers. We analysed at a range of social networking and fitness aps and took inspiration from the best bits of all of them.”
TechLauncher is an ANU initiative and a collaborative effort with the ACT Government, Digital Careers, and the Canberra Innovation Network. It enables students to develop the research and professional skills required to use technology to bring great ideas to life, and have a positive impact on society.
As part of the TechLauncher program, small teams of four to six students work on a broad range of project types, ranging from traditional client projects to start-up projects based on a student generated idea.
“There are no strict rules or guidelines for TechLauncher, our assessment focuses on how we justify our decisions for the app, which is really motivating. It’s hard to get off topic or lose motivation when everything you do shapes your project” says Andrew.
Through undertaking the TechLauncher program, the students have had the opportunity to develop a range of skills.
“The course not only teaches you technical skills, but also management skills. For example, we have attended project planning workshops. The amount of teamwork required as part of the project has also developed our soft skills” says Emmanuel.
The team believes they are uniquely positioned to leverage the rapid growth of the fitness industry in Australia, to ensure fitness is a part of everyone’s life.
“With the fitness industry in Australia growing, more people are trying out sports and fitness activities. Our current goal for PairFit is to grow the user base in Canberra, hopefully through a partnership with ANU Sport. We’d then like to increase the user radius by taking it to Sydney, then Australia-wide, and ultimately, the world” said Arash.