Sensor-Based Mobile Application Development

Learn to develop sensor-based mobile apps by doing it!
This experiential learning course puts you in the center of a challenging, real-world situation: Your employer plans to introduce a new Android-based app that exploits the latest sensor technologies. You and several colleagues will work as a team to develop the app.

Specifically, in this course, you will prepare financial forecasts of possible solutions to address the identified issues and present them to the winery's owner. 

Your project team for the course will meet weekly online with a faculty mentor.


  • Format: Online collaboration

    Hour: 84 hours / 8.4 CEUs

    When: Jan. 26 - March 13, 2015

    Cost: $2,100

Scenario overview
In the prerequisite course, Native Mobile App Development, you were hired by Nutech Studios, which specializes in mobile apps. Your team did a superb job in your first assignment, and now you have a new project that is even more challenging. Nutech plans to build a new app that will leverage the latest sensor technologies for mobile users. You will be working with a team to conceive and develop the app in time to coincide with the roll-out of several new Android phones.

Your job
In this course, you will be engaged in a project involving mobile technology deliverables. You will again be working as if you are an employee of Nutech. You will produce the same deliverables a top-notch company would expect—and you will be evaluated on the work you produce.

You and your team will:

  • Understand the full range of sensors available on a modern Android smartphone, including GPS, accelerometers, cameras, magnetometers, light sensors, proximity sensors, orientation sensors, near-field communications, etc.
  • Design and develop a sensor-based Android application, taking into account the capabilities and limitations of various sensors in different contexts (e.g., GPS doesn't work indoors)
  • Combine the capabilities of multiple sensors to serve mobile users in real-world situations
  • Leverage sensor fusion to make complex interferences about user behavior


What you will learn

Modern mobile phones have a variety of built-in sensors that open a range of creative opportunities for mobile app developers. Sensor-related technologies typically detect and measure motion, location, orientation and environmental factors. For example, accelerometers and gyroscopes detect orientation and rotation, magnetometers can orient digital maps based on the user’s physical orientation, and barometers can measure altitude.

First, your team will need to get creative: Conceive an innovative, marketable mobile app that addresses something people want or need. Next, determine what capabilities your mobile app should have to meet these needs. Then you will turn your “dream” app into a structured project:

  • develop a plan for approaching the project
  • determine user requirements and a design concept
  • implement the design in working code
  • test that the implementation meets the original requirements
  • manage the work to ensure the team is on target to deliver a quality product

Through interacting with your team on this project, you will learn how to prioritize and manage the tasks necessary to ensure the team can complete and deliver a quality mobile product on time. You will learn to use agile methods to focus resources on the top priorities.


What you will do

  • Design a sensor-based mobile app based on user requirements
  • Solve problems of interpreting sensor data to make inferences about usage context and user behavior
  • Iteratively develop your app in multiple sprints
  • User test and revise your app.

Course Information

Course Number: 


Course Date: 
Monday, January 26, 2015 - Friday, March 13, 2015
Course Date Info: 

Experiential learningYour team will meet weekly in an online environment with your faculty mentor. Mentors are seasoned professionals who facilitate group discussions and help you solve complex problems on your own. The mentors are available by phone, text and email to answer questions, point you in the right direction, and provide in-depth feedback on every deliverable you produce. Supporting materials and resources are provided online. 

Course Fee(s): 


Continuing Education Information: 

84 hours/8.4 CEU's
Visit the University of Georgia CEU policies for more details. 

Dr. Chris Riesbeck.  Dr. Riesbeck is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1974. His dissertation was on natural language understanding, and he has done research on case-based reasoning, memory-based language understanding, and intelligent interfaces for knowledge acquisition and teaching.

Dr. Riesbeck has been a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of Semantics and Cognition in Switzerland and at the Center for Human Information Processing at the University of California in San Diego, and was a research scientist in computer science at Yale University for 15 years.

Dr. Ray Bareiss. Dr. Bareiss is the Chief Education Officer at XTOL.  Prior to joining XTOL, Dr. Bareiss was Director of Educational Programs and Professor of the Practice of Software Engineering and Software Management at Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley Campus, where he oversaw and taught in two unique, learning-by-doing, professional master’s programs.

He was a co-founder of Cognitive Arts Corporation and served as executive vice president for strategic projects, such as virtual university collaborations and large-scale corporate eLearning initiatives.

Prior to joining Cognitive Arts, Dr. Bareiss was Assistant Director of the Institute for the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University, as well as a Research Associate Professor of Computer Science and Education. Dr. Bareiss specializes in computer-based learning environments, organizational memory and computer-based performance support, human-computer interaction, and cased-based reasoning. He is also the author of a number of books and articles. Dr. Bareiss holds a Ph.D. in Computer Sciences and a B.S. in Communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mobile Usability

  • Nielsen, Jakob. Mobile Usability. New Riders. First Edition. ISBN-10: 0321884485
  • Krug, Steve. Don't Make Me Think! New Riders. Second Edition. ISBN-10: 0321344755

Agile Development

  • Rasmusson, Jonathan. The Agile Samurai. Pragmatic Bookshelf. First edition. ISBN-10: 1934356581


  • McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. William Morrow. Second Edition. ISBN-10: 006097625X