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Phone app that tracks brainwaves earns top prize of developer contest

Updated Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 | 8:35 a.m.

AT&T Developer Hackathon

Max Katz gives a presentation on Tiggzi during a 26-hour innovation Hackathon at the Palms Saturday, January 5, 2013. Tiggzi is a cloud-based platform for building mobile Apps. More than 200 innovators competed for $125,000 in cash and prizes as they tried to develop the mobile apps of tomorrow. The event is a prelude to the annual AT&T Developer Summit . Launch slideshow »

In 24 hours, Ruggero Scorcioni developed a phone app connected to a headgear device that tracks a user’s brainwaves to reject calls when they are busy.

That app earned him first place at the AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon at the Palms and a $30,000 cash prize.

Scorcioni competed against more than 70 other teams of developers to create a phone or in-car touchscreen app on Saturday and Sunday. He then had 90 seconds to pitch the idea in front of a panel of judges. The top teams then presented at the summit keynote event on Monday, and the audience voted on the winner.

His app, which is connected to the Necomimi Brainwaves Cat Ear, blocks calls when the user is engrossed in work or conversation. The phone then notifies the caller the person is busy and suggests to call back later.

Four other teams also qualified to take home money ranging from $10,000 for second place, $5,000 for third, and $2,000 for honorable mention. The other finalists include:

Team Canary: Chris Rill and Adam Sager developed a social home safety system app to protect a person’s assets and people they care about.

Team Talk to You Now: Brad Roller, Jeremy Lizza, Basil Udoudoh, J.D. Jordan and Walt Austin developed a phone app that utilizes speech-to-text and text-to-speech technology to allow one user to have a phone conversation while another replies with a text that then becomes audible.

Team Joyride: Mark Castleman, Cameron Cooper and Brian Maloney created an in-car app that allows friends to send music requests directly to the car. Friends can also call in to the car and create a vehicle party line.

Team HearHere: Mark Davis designed a social media app that allows people to broadcast a voice message from various places that can then be heard by other users.

The final placement for the other four finalists had not been determined as of Monday night.

CORRECTION: The description of the app developed by Team Talk to You now has been updated in this story. | (January 10, 2013)

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