Text messaging is something many of us do when we want to communicate a quick message without making a phone call. A group of UNCW computer science students are some of the first in the country to develop these text-messaging applications. They're not only being used on campus, but throughout Wilmington. "Back in 2007, we talked with UNCW. They were interested in providing text message applications to their students. As we looked at a few vendors, we realized it might be helpful for us to develop our own applications,” said Ron Vetter, a UNCW professor. So that's exactly what they did. With some financial assistance from UNCW, Ron Vetter and some of his students got to work. They developed programs, or applications, for your cell phone. They purchased a short code, "90947", and then developed a number of ways that code can be used. One is called “Coupons to Your Phone". "Obviously, most of us have our phones on us and getting text messages is really easy instead of carrying around a million coupons with us,” said UNCW student Jessica Buongiorno. So if you want a coupon to Papa John's Pizza, for example, text "pizza" to "90947". Within seconds, you'll get a reply with the latest deal. You can see a complete list of the businesses and their keycodes and sign up on their website, "couponstoyourphone.com." Another application is called Text Titan. It allows people to send someone an email message to a cell phone, even if the person on the other end doesn't have the internet on their phone. You can sign up at texttitan.com and get 50 free texts. The application only works if you email through Microsoft Outlook 2007. The latest application was developed for people who ride the Wave Transit bus. Text "bus" with the route number to "90947" to find out when the next stop is. "They gave us full access to their data so I started collecting and logging their information and after a year of logging it, I had enough information to try and predict where the buses were going to be based on where they used to be on a given day or time and that turned into my master's thesis,” explained Allen Rawls. Today, that master's thesis is being used by hundreds of bus riders. The students have 15 applications and are working on more. Professor Ron Vetter said someday, this class project could turn into a profit. "Some of these applications that students are developing, we hope to see have commercial value and spread across the country, and how exciting is that?" UNCW students have plans to create many more text applications for the community to use. They've also started developing applications for the Apple iPhone.
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