By Kristin Schultz
There are many rules of the road: Wear your seat belt, pull over for emergency vehicles, no texting and driving and, of course, don’t speed. While it may be difficult to keep all the rules all the time, Niskayuna resident Irfan Hussaini has developed an app to help keep your (and your teen’s) speed in check.
Speed Nanny is the product of Hussaini’s own run-in with local law enforcement. Earlier this year, he was pulled over and received a speeding ticket. His speedometer read 45 miles per hour, but the radar gun read 51.
The way Hussaini sees it, people get speeding tickets either because they were unaware they were going too fast or a speedometer error.
Speed Nanny records location, time and speed and alerts the driver when the speed limit is being exceeded.
To begin, users need to “train” the app to recognize average speed within a geographic zone by driving in that zone.
For example, if you take your neighborhood street to Highway 7, the app will start to recognize that in your neighborhood you travel at 30 miles per hour, but on Highway 7 you travel 47 miles per hour.
After the app is trained, it will alert you with a beeping sound if you exceed your average speed in a given zone. So if you put your foot down on Highway 7 and are suddenly going 55 mph, the app will beep.
The app’s recording function keeps 30 minutes’ worth of information including the time, location (in latitude and longitude) and recorded speed.
There are two modes: expert mode for experienced drivers and teen mode for those newbies behind the wheel. In teen driving mode, the driver will be alerted if he or she is driving barely over the speed limit and keeps recorded data for an hour.
Expert mode has greater tolerance for speed overages and only stores information for 30 minutes.
While he’s still tinkering with some details, Hussaini is happy with his app, which went on the iTunes app store a couple of weeks ago.
Hussaini, who likes developing apps, has a Ph.D. and is a mechanical and research engineer with General Electric.
“Developing apps started as a hobby,” he said. “The learning process was pretty long. I have a job and family.”
Hussaini took online courses and learned Apple’s app development platform. To date, he has developed a word game, a couple of religion-based apps and a unit conversion app he uses at work.
That was two years ago, and Hussaini has no plans to stop. He is currently learning the Android development platform. According to IT research and advisory company Gartner, 82 percent of the smartphones sold globally in the fourth quarter of 2016 ran on an Android platform.
He also may develop a Pro version of the app that includes more features, or a hardware version of Speed Nanny that could be used in commercial or municipal fleets.
“I get my ideas from real life,” Hussaini said. “I like useful, educational apps.” His idea for the game “Word Guess” came from watching his own children play on an iPad.
“The kids would spend all this time on the device and not learn anything!” he said.
To remedy the abundance of mind-numbing game options, Hussaini built an app aimed at developing vocabulary. Once an app for his kids, its content now features GRE and SAT level words.
Speed Nanny and Hussaini’s other apps may be found on the iTunes app store by searching “Speed Nanny.”