Tech-savvy student creates potentially life-saving app

Loud car stereos, high-tech earbuds and enticing phone screens mean drivers and pedestrians are more distracted that ever – so we often miss the bright lights and screaming sirens of emergency service vehicles.

But Year 12 Trinity Catholic College student Michael Giglio’s clever iPhone app EVITA might just be the siren of the future.

His Design and Technology HSC major work EVITA – or Emergency Vehicle In Transit Assist – was created to solve a problem Michael has witnessed first-hand.

An app like EVITA could dramatically reduce the risks posed by responding emergency vehicles.

– Silverwater Fire Station Officer, Nick Chubb

“The Lidcombe fire station is next to the bus stop – while waiting I have seen many examples of traffic driving past the fire engine while it is trying to get from the fire station onto the road,” he said.

“I have also seen fire engines screeching to a halt when pedestrians are crossing the road on a green walk signal and fail to stop and let the fire engine pass – both are examples of valuable time wasted that could be spent reaching their destination.”

EVITA works by connecting an app on the user’s phone with a Bluetooth-powered iBeacon installed inside emergency vehicles.

Turning on the vehicle’s lights and sirens activates the iBeacon, and nearby app users receive audio alerts that an emergency vehicle is in their far, near or immediate area.

“One of the most dangerous phases of an emergency is the response phase, when we are driving under lights and sirens to the call,” said Silverwater Fire Station Officer, Nick Chubb.

“An app like EVITA could dramatically reduce the risks posed by responding emergency vehicles to both the community and emergency service personnel.”

The future of Mr Giglio’s app looks bright – he hopes to configure his product so it can run in the background on mobile devices, and develop an Android version that could be distributed by the Google Play store.

His career, which he hopes to further with a university degree in Computer Science, looks just as promising.

“The making of EVITA brought me into contact with a Software Engineer from Apple, who could possibly help me get an internship at Apple, which could lead to a full-time job,” he said.

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