Summer 2015 offered two chances to learn about glanceable design for mobile from Elizabeth Mezias, founder of Mezcode. She led a session on Android Wear, Home Screen Widgets and Live Wallpaper as an Android subject matter expert at the AnDevCon conference in Boston at the end of July, 2015 and in September at DroidCon Stockholm. It was a busy summer. Elizabeth won the hackathon at the Yahoo Mobile Developer Conference in NYC on August 24 with the Wiki Where? app that is now available for a free download from the Google Play store. The app shows photos from Wikipedia pages on an Android Wear watch and on the phone. It allows you to search Wikipedia for information about a location, instead of searching by name. After the conference, Elizabeth joined in the fun at DroidCon NYC.
Did you see her at Google I/O '15? In 2014 a Code Jam sponsored by Google provided Elizabeth with a free ticket and a stipend to help cover the cost of travel to San Francisco. This year Miss Mezias will attend with other organizers of the Boston Google Developer Group (GDG). All of this travel (and other events too) is a great way to keep up with the latest in mobile technology and to enjoy opportunities for experiential learning of the same.
Elizabeth is still talking about her trip to San Francisco in February 2015. This year's first big tech event was the Yahoo Mobile Developer Conference. As a powerful leader driving mobile technologies forward, Marissa Mayer delivered the keynote speech at this invitation-only, sold-out event. There was a fire-drill after lunch; a little unexpected drama that sent everyone outside for a break in the bright noon sun. Highlights of the featured Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite include native ads, Flurry Pulse, BrightRoll and major improvements to the analytics portal user experience. It's nice to have a single developer kit include so many features - ads, comScore reporting and analytics all in one. The Google Developer Group Organizer Summit at Google Headquarters in Mountain View at the end of February was another informative part of Miss Mezias' last trip to the Silicon Valley.
In Boston, the Hack MS event powered by Health 2.0 proved to be an excellent opportunity for Elizabeth to recreate the successful behavior modification visualizations she learned from Stanford University research in a setting that is therapeutic for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Stress reduction was the primary target for teams gathered up for a weekend by Biogen Idec. Team Multiple Steps, pictured here, put up a prototype the judges liked and walked away with a $10,000 prize.
Elizabeth helped to organize an Android Wear hackathon with 2 local meetup groups - Boston Android and the Boston Google Developers Group. She is running a regular Android session on Monday nights in the WeWork South Station office. This meetup is in partnership with the Informal Android Developer meetup she likes to attend in Mountain View on Monday nights at Red Rock Coffee Shop.
Presenting and speaking about mobile technology is part of the big plan. DroidCon NYC in September 2014 was the place to learn about coding live wallpapers and home screen widgets. Elizabeth's talk on the subject is now available on YouTube along with all the others. Now that Android Wear devices are available the buzz word is "glanceable" in technology circles. It's at the fore in discussions about smart watches and Google Glass. Elizabeth learned glanceable displays from experts in the Stanford Design School back in 2009 while working as part of a Stanford Research team on a very successful public health intervention that got people to sit less and walk more. Teaching new code techniques about glanceables from an experienced mobile architect was the opportunity when she presented at the Droidcon show.
Google I/O '14 showed innovation and change to developers using Google technologies. Android release "L" and the Material Design that displays new apps targeted to the release are big news. Elizabeth got to hear about all of this first-hand at Moscone West in San Francisco as an attendee of the conference. She won her ticket as part of a code contest sponsored by Google. While in Silicon Valley, she also participated in the Google Developer Group Organizer Summit at the Googleplex in Mountain View representing the Boston GDG. Building on this experience, Elizabeth attended a special, invitation-only "Wear Workshop" in NYC. She has a new app for Android Wear on the Play store called "Charge Checker."
The weekend before the Organizer Summit and Google I/O Elizabeth participated in the Hacking Glass for Eduction hackathon. Using the sample Charades app as a model she created "Word Master." This open-source app is a tool for teachers to lead spelling bees using words and a timer on the Google Glass screen. Students can use the Word Master app to study vocabulary by spelling words that Glass reads aloud and then checking the answer. When they have written the spelling of the word they heard, a tap on Glass will display the correct spelling and read a definition of the vocabulary word. You can download Word Master from GitHub.
In May, Elizabeth led a session on Android Innovation at the AnDevCon conference in Boston. Her talk was about glance-able displays and coding techniques for live wallpaper and home screen widgets. Her work at Stanford with behavioral scientists in the Medical School was the focus of the discussion. This is the second AnDevCon Boston show and Elizabeth has been able to attend both of them. Previously at the Silicon Valley Code Camp and the Global Mobile Silicon Valley (GMIC) conference, she presented these same techniques for creating real-time, actionable data in a display that is intended to motivate app users through cognitive, affective, and social frameworks on the data. In the talk she shares lessons learned from the Healthy Aging Studies research projects at Stanford University. At the GMIC conference, the Sound Check app for the Sony SmartWatch also qualified Mezcode for participation in the contest for new mobile apps.
The Medicine X conference held on campus at Stanford University in September 2012 hosted a breakout session for the Healthy Aging Studies' MILES project that was well attended. In addition to participation at the conference, Elizabeth was also seen on the podcast of the pre-conference Self-Tracking Symposium. The symposium and conference are informative discussions of mobile and wearables offering continued inspiration for continued work with Android sensor technologies. A detailed article to describe the work of the Stanford MILES research team is found on the medicineX web site.
For the past four years Miss Mezias was able to the Consumer Electronics Show and AT&T Developer Summit. In 2014 she attended the show with Hoyos Labs, the recipient of a Showstoppers award for Design in Engineering. At the Summit, she paid special attention to the voice biometric web service that was announced and introduced by AT&T. This service does not require the AT&T network and could prove useful in the product plans at Hoyos Labs. Of course, the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert was also great fun, if not a little controversial. The T-Mobile CEO wanted to join in the AT&T fun. Last year Miss Mezias spent a week at the show in Las Vegas, participating in two hackathons and attending the biggest show in the business. One of the coding contests was part of the show, the CEA MoDev Hackathon. The other code-a-thon was held at the Palms as part of the AT&T Developer Summit on Saturday and Sunday, Jan 5-6th. Elizabeth created Google Earth projects and was able to demo on stage at both of these events.
In January 2013 Miss Mezias enjoyed a two day vacation with the new Google Glass at Google's offices in San Francisco. The Glass Foundry event for developers was invitation-only. "It was like touching the sky" to stand next to the Bay Bridge and become a Glass Pioneer, trying out the new technology and getting a preview of the Mirror API; an awesome privilege. She bought Glass #534 and is collaborating on a Glass project with Stanford University Human Computer Interface grad students to bring this convenient, wearable technology into health care, specifically into Stanford hospital. This work builds on her earlier work in the Stanford Medical school, on the MILES project (see links on left).
After purchasing an HTC G1 phone in 2008 Mezcode was founded by Elizabeth Mezias. She downloaded the Android SDK and started writing apps. You can find most of her work on the Android Market. Mezcode apps are also on the Blackberry App World and Kindle Fire markets. Early on in the Android eco-system the Alarmoid app was entered into the Android Developer Challenge. It scored in the top 25% of applications overall from thousands of entries. Elizabeth has been working full-time on Android with Mezcode since 2008.
She started writing apps for a research team at Stanford University in June, 2010. She is on the cutting edge, using apps to influence behavior and help people make good choices. The effort includes animated live wallpapers, home screen widgets and daily polls to collect data from participants in an intervention - a preventive health study. More details about this work in Healthy Aging Studies can be found on the Stanford Apps project page.