11-year-old gets $20,000 for app to stop texting and driving

The Right Click

A sixth-grader from California has earned herself $20,000 U.S. for her idea on how to stop texting and driving, The Globe and Mail reports.

As part of the 'It Can Wait' hackathon hosted by AT&T, Victoria Walker proposed the Rode Dog app. She developed the project with the help of David Grau, creative director and designer at interactive agency WLDG in Santa Ana, California.

The app lets users add friends and family to their "pack" in the app and if one of the pack members suspects someone of texting while driving, they can send a "bark" to the person's phone. The phone will then keep barking until the user acknowledges it and silences the yapping. Pack members can see when a family member is on the move while texting through GPS tracking.

Walker says she came up with the idea for Rode Dog when she heard her three dogs barking, and thought how the noise would be a good way to stop people from doing just about anything.

"This app allows me to protect my parents if they are driving and texting," Walker said to The LA Times.

The app also has a virtual pet sound store where users can purchase different animal sounds, if they want to be alerted by something other than a dog's bark.

AT&T's hackathon was a two-day event that asked the 120 participants to each develop apps that could help deter texting and driving. Walker was selected five semi-finalists. The app is still in the development stages as the team works out some problems, but you can sign up at the Rode Dog website to be notified with the app goes live.

(Image from Rodedog.com)