App Research

The Google Play Store and the Apple App Store combined give users a choice of well over 5 million apps.  One would think that the answer to every “is there an app for that?” question imaginable would be a definitive “yes”!  Yet the answer to these sorts of conversations is typically a more nuanced one in which there may or may not be an appropriate app available for the proposed use case, and if there is, it often does not fully address the use case being considered. Hence, despite the crowded app ecosystems, there is still plenty of opportunity for innovation in the app space.

The GVSU Applied Computing Institute has been innovating in apps for well over a decade now.  We are particularly interested in experimentally validating emerging app techniques in the wild, and/or building custom apps that collect specialized research data sets.  We refer to this as activity app research.  Whether you are a university researcher looking for assistance in a custom app to help gather data, or you are an industry partner looking for help prototyping a speculative app concept, we can help you.

App Research Team

Whiteboarding an App Idea



Example Projects and Case Studies


Improving oral care with edge ML

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iPhone with the app Art At GVSU on the screen

Art at GVSU

Art meets augmented reality

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iPhone with the Laker Mobile app displayed

Laker Mobile

GVSU's official campus app

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Empower citizen scientists

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Laptop with the website BIP Electronic Give Monitoring on the screen

BIP Electronic Hive Monitoring

Apiculture meet IoT

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Photos of the PocketPT Research Paper


Gamified physical therapy

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Representative Publications

• E. Jaramillo, G. Going, R. Rafiq and J. Engelsma. YouBrush: Leveraging Edge-Based Machine Learning in Oral Care. 13th International Conference on Mobile Computing, Applications and Services. November 17-18, 2022. Messina, Italy

• Engelsma, J., Gamble, A., Harro, C., & Farris, J. (2014). PocketPT–A Personalized Therapeutic Game Platform. Journal on Computing (JoC), 3(4).

• J. Engelsma, F. Jumah, A. Montoya, J. Roth, V. Vasudevan, and G. Zavitz. Shop Social: The Adventures of a Barcode Scanning App in the Wild. Fourth International Conference on Mobile Computing, Applications and Services. October 11-12, 2012. Seattle, WA.

Do you have an aspirational app idea?

If you have a challenging app idea or app aspiration that you’d like to discuss more, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Page last modified September 22, 2023