UC Merced's 5th Annual Mobile App Challenge

Develop innovative mobile applications for today’s most pressing societal needs.
Win cash prizes, network, and build your skillset, all while changing the world for the better.


This is our 5th annual Mobile app challenge. Learn about how this awesome tradition was founded.

Get Started

We've compiled a lot of great resources to help you get started.

App Showcase

Compete with your fellow students for a shot at the grand prize and earn bragging rights.

Important Dates

Mobile App Challenge Kickoff Session

We will be hosting an info session to show potential participants what's in store for this year's Mobile App Challenge.

January 21, 6:00pm in SSB 160

Social Mixer

Get together with other students interested in the Mobile App Challenge to discuss ideas and talk about what others will be working on.

January 28, 6:00pm in SSB 160

Question and Answer Session

We will be answering any questions students have and discussing what participants should expect from this year's Mobile App Challenge.

February 4, 6:00pm in SSB 160

Team Formation

Team applications are due on the 8th of February. Once you have a team in mind, click here to apply. Only one team member needs to apply.

February 8

Workshop 1: Introduction to App Development

We will be having six informative workshops this year, the first of which will be an introduction to Mobile App Development.

February 18, 6:00-9:00pm in SSB 160

Workshop 2: Point to Market

The details of our second workshop have not yet been finalized.

March 2nd, 6:00pm in SSB 120

Speaker: James Kuffner from Toyota Research Insitute

James Kuffner, a research scientist in robotics and cloud computing at the newly formed Toyota Research Institute, will be presenting a talk.

Read more March 4, 12:00-1:00pm in SSB 120

Speaker: Dale Dougherty - Founder & Executive Chairman of Maker Magazine Inc.

Dale Dougherty is the Founder and Executive Chariman of Make Magazine

March 11, 12:00-1:00pm in SSB 120

Workshop 3: Business Plan

The details of our third workshop have not yet been finalized.

March 16th, 6:00pm in SSB 120

Workshop 4: Intellectual Property

The details of our fourth workshop have not yet been finalized.

March 30th, 6:00-7:00pm in SSB 120

Speaker: Paul Scerri, Founder of Platypus LLC.

Paul Scerri is a researcher at CMU and the founder of Platypus LLC, a group working to bring down the environmental impact of water data collection through low-cost robotic sensing.

April 1, 12:00-1:00pm in SSB 120

Workshop 5: Pitch Presentation

The details of our fifth workshop have not yet been finalized.

April 13th, 6:00-7:00pm in SSB 120

Poster Draft Due

Teams will be showing their poster at the semi-finals, and it is important that posters are clear and informative. Teams need to submit a draft of their poster by Friday, April 15th.

April 15

Mock Presentations

We will be holding mock presentations to provide feedback and suggestions from mentors and peers.

April 21, 6-7:00pm in SSB 160

Final Poster Due

Teams' posters are due Friday, April 22nd so they can be printed before Semi-Finals

April 22


All teams will present their project before an audience of judges and peers, followed by a one-on-one poster session in which teams will be able to discuss their project with the judges.

April 30, 1-3:00pm in SSB 160

Workshop 6: Pitch Improvement

The details of our sixth workshop have not yet been finalized.

May 4th, 6:00-7:00pm in SSB 120

Grand Finals

Teams that move on from the semifinals will be awarded their prizes. This event coincides with UC Merced's Innovate 2 Grow finals.

May 13



Energy fuels our daily lives; energy runs our lights, cars, computers, phones, televisions, and so on. Everyone uses it, but do they understand their impact? Find a way to raise awareness about usage and promote energy conservation.

2015 Finalist: Switch


Your environment consists of the world around you. You explore it, breathe it, and see it but how can you affect it? Think of ways to encourage reduced pollution, increased greenery, and expanded environmental awareness.

2015 Finalist: Agora


We are learning every day, whether it is through school, work, daily activities, or an app on a mobile phone. Create something that inspires others to learn something new and encourages continued mental development.

2015 Finalist: Outpost


“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver” – Mahatama Ghandi. Encourage someone to live a healthier lifestyle with an app that could encourage healthy eating, promote daily exercise, or help track weight. 

2015 Finalist: Spinewatch

Civic Engagement

How can we get involved in our community? Develop an idea that promotes individuals to participate in their community through volunteering time, providing feedback in polls, or ensuring that their voice is heard at a greater scope.

2015 Finalist: Fun-D

2015 Grand Prize Winners

MAC Winners

Team Switch took home the grand prize with concept of a "home operating system" -- a system to save energy by controlling applicances and electrical devices from a phone.

Additional Prizes

Best Pitch: Pill-ID

Best Poster Presentation: onCourse

Global Food Initiaitve prize: StockUp