A team of seven undergraduate computer science students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering spent five months developing a tech-based solution to ease a pain-point at the Honolulu Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility (AAQHF). This was the first project completed through the Community Innovation Mentorship Program (CIMP), a collaboration between DataHouse, Transform Hawaii Government, the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), and the Entrepreneurs Sandbox allunder the umbrella of TRUE, an initiative of the Hawaiʻi Executive Collaborative.
Working alongside industry experts from DataHouse, students used technology funded by Transform Hawaii Government to modernize and digitize the pet retrieval process, in turn, reducing the wait time for pet owners when they arrive at the facility. By utilizing tools and techniques to identify and refine problems, the students used innovative solutions involving programming frameworks and methodologies, user authentication, technical architectural and database design, middle-tier business logic, and front-end UI/UX frameworks. Digitization of the process became even more vital as social distancing orders went into affect due to COVID-19.
“The team used technology to streamline the intake process and the queuing of people and pets. Now, owners can see in real time exactly where their pet is in the process,” said Dr. Isaac Maeda, administrator of the Animal Industry Division of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. “Their work completely transformed communications for staff and the public at the AAQHF.”
“Our goal is to expose our students to more real-world challenges, with real problems needing real solutions that can impact our community right here at home, rather than solving theoretical problem sets that can happen anywhere else,” said Brennon Morioka, dean of the UH Mānoa College of Engineering. “Hopefully this helps to nurture their passion for engineering and become more committed to their roles as problem solvers and leaders right here in Hawaiʻi.”
The mentorship program concluded with a final team presentation and virtual certificate ceremony at the Entrepreneurs Sandbox in Kakaʻako on May 18. The TRUE Initiative, which launched in January of this year, is a technology solutions-focused collaboration between the private entities, HTDC, the State of Hawaiʻi, and local universities and colleges. TRUE stands for Technology Readiness User Evaluation and the initiative aims to tech-enable organizations through the sharing of solutions to common business challenges in order to create jobs and higher wage-earning opportunities throughout the state.
Companies that are interested in providing students an opportunity to take on real-world challenges or want to serve as a program resource for CIMP should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.