FutureFive NZ - Lincoln University student creates 'invaluable' app

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Lincoln University student creates 'invaluable' app

Tao Zhou, a Lincoln University IT graduate has completed an internship at Agriseeds, a plant breeding and research company, where he developed an app to help staff carry out field work.

Colin Eady, Agriseeds science manager, says Zhou’s creation helps with data capture during field trials and has proven invaluable.

“The modular system Tao developed simplifies data capture process, saves time and reduces errors,” says Eady.

Zhou took on the internship as part of his Graduate Diploma of Software and IT and says he came up with the idea for the app after talking to Agriseeds staff and monitoring their workflow.

“Seed data from the field used to be collected using paper and pen and keyed into a spreadsheet back at the office.

“After having some discussions with staff, we thought we would make things easier by developing an app,” he says.

“The system is based on Microsoft Excel and runs on a tablet. It works by collecting data via a friendly, front-end interface, then the data is automatically transferred to Excel in standard format with error checking and validation. This makes it handy for preventing mistakes,” Zhou says.

Eady says the internship finished in November, but Zhou continued to work at Agriseeds for a further three months to help troubleshoot any problems with the app.

“During this time, he established efficient electronic capture and transfer of data between the Agriseeds Quality Assurance and Breeding team.

“He also helped improve a previous Lincoln University/Agriseeds collaboration concerning seed image analysis,” Eady says.

Before he attended Lincoln, Zhou received a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Science and Technology from Shandong University in Jinan, China, then worked in the software development and IT service industry for two years.

He says he decided to take Lincoln University’s graduate diploma to 'deepen his knowledge' and advance his career as an engineer in the IT industry.

Lincoln University’s Graduate Diploma in Software and Information Technology can help those who want to transition into an IT career or extend their skills, says Dr Stuart Charters, Head of Department of Informatics and Enabling Technologies.

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