Discussion with Dr. Natalie Lao, App Inventor Foundation, and Professor Emeritus of KAIT

At the discussion of Dr. Natalie Lao with Professor Emeritus Fujio Yamamoto
At the discussion of Dr. Natalie Lao with Professor Emeritus Fujio Yamamoto
Demonstration at Prof. Tanaka's Lab
Demonstration at Prof. Tanaka's Lab

On Friday, Apr. 7th, Dr. Natalie Lao, Executive Director of App Inventor Foundation, visited KAIT with Dr. Nicholas Kwok, and had a discussion with KAIT Professor Emeritus Fujio Yamamoto, previously in Department of Information and Computer Sciences, Professor Hiroshi Tanaka, Department of Information and Computer Sciences, and Professor Takano, Director of the International Center.

At Tanaka Laboratory, Associate Professor Sudo, Department of Information and Computer Sciences, joined to explain the demonstration developed using App Inventor and other tools. 

App Inventor is a visual programming environment for creating smartphone apps that run on Android and iPhone.  Users can create applications by combining programming blocks from a web browser without having to write source code as in the past.

Professor Yamamoto has used App Inventor to develop a variety of apps, including an app for collecting data when driving the Suzuka Solar Car, an app for determining elevator floors based on altitude estimation using air pressure, and an app for deriving solutions to math problems for educational purposes.  In this conversation, he included his latest achievement, an image denoising application using quantum computing.

Dr. Lao thanked Professor Yamamoto for his contribution to the development of App Inventor applications, and explained the introduction of AI functions in App Inventor and its prospects, as well as his focus on developing educational programs for middle and high school students. It was suggested that MIT App Inventor is effective for programming education for a wide range of age groups, from elementary and middle school to university students, and that it has great potential for applications in the education field, such as developing educational applications for math, science, languages, and such.

Dr. Lao and Dr. Kwok have a wide range of backgrounds in informatics, mathematical sciences, and educational technology, and they have a wide range of ideas about the features they would like to see developed in App Inventor. The discussion about the possibilities of App Inventor was very lively. They also spoke very enthusiastically about their future activities, including plans to hold an App Inventor Summit in 2024.

We hope that their visit will be an opportunity for KAIT to establish a cooperative relationship with the App Inventor Foundation.

App Inventor was developed under the leadership of Professor Hal Abelson of MIT's Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and is now known as the App Inventor Foundation where members of MIT and Google are leading the development and education project.  This time, Prof. Abelson introduced us to Natalie and her colleagues, which led to their visit.

(App Inventor Foundation)   https://www.appinventorfoundation.org/

(App Inventor)         https://appinventor.mit.edu/