x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Applied ingenuity

People who make apps with real-world purposes deserve congratulations.

The phrase “there’s an app for that” has become a cliché in a very short space of time. Why? Because, increasingly, there is a smartphone or tablet application that will do just about anything you want. We’re all familiar with the games – and especially so in a week that saw the controversial removal of the Flappy Bird app by its own designer – but perhaps not so aware of the apps that have a practical purpose.

Two apps that emerged in the UAE this week fall into that latter category. As The National reported yesterday, the first, Red Bug, actually began life as a board game and evolved into a useful education tool about ways to treat palm trees infected with the red palm weevil. Its Emirati designer, Farah Al Bastaki, developed it because she had lost precious plants to the destructive beetles. The app has been praised by farmers for spreading the word about a major threat to agriculture.

Today comes news that RoadApp, which provides real-time traffic information and accident alerts, has been adapted for use in the UAE.

We applaud the talent and ingenuity of those who have used technology to solve real-world problems, rather than fiendishly clever trifles that frustrate not only the users but sometimes even their creators.