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Boston Wants Help Developing App To Locate Potholes

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File image (credit: AP)

File image (credit: AP)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Summer may be around the corner, but the city of Boston is still focused on something that comes about because of winter weather – potholes.

The city is teaming with InnoCentive to launch a competition for developers who will be able to expand an app that detects potholes. It’s called the Street Bump Challenge.

The city released a prototype of the app in February, but according to a spokesperson for Mayor Tom Menino, right now only sophisticated programmers would know how to use the app, not the general public. Christopher Loh goes on to say that the city is looking for developers who will be able to develop an app that would be “user friendly enough to market.”

“Street Bump is a great example of Boston taking new approaches to solving difficult problems,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a written statement. “Not only are we developing a first-of-its-kind app, we are collaborating in an original way with some of the world’s best minds to deliver it.”

The app uses the GPS function in smart phones to locate a pothole and its size. Sensors in the software would detect bumps in the road and send the street information to a server, which would deliver the information to the city, notifying it instantly of the problem.

“As you drive around the city, it will be reported immediately, right to the public works department where the potholes may be, that will give us a quicker need to service the potholes we find,” Menino said in February.

Liberty Mutual is providing a $22,500 prize that will be split between the top rated solutions.

The competition started April 28 and runs until July 27. It’s open to anyone and developers can register on InnoCentive’s website. After the competition, the app will be released to the public.

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