RANDOLPH, NJ- Ethan Humphrey is entering his last few weeks as a senior at Randolph High School. During his time at Randolph, Ethan has been heavily involved in numerous honor societies. He is also President of Robotics Club and is on the board of Computer Club where he has participated in competitions like CyberPatriot where participants are tasked with securing computers against hackers. In his spare time, Ethan has used his passion for computer science to begin to work on projects that can add value to people’s lives. His latest project Run Mapper, available on iTunes today, is a brand-new mobile application he developed to help runners navigate their routines.
Run Mapper keeps track of the path you take while running. Anyone who downloads the app can start it before a run and it will track the route on a map. It will also calculate the distance someone ran as well as the amount of time it took to complete the run. “While there are some apps out there that include similar functionality, they are often locked behind needing a smartwatch, or are too complicated to learn,” Ethan said. “My main goal in creating this app was to create something that is very simple to use and straight to the point. You can see all the routes you’ve taken, where they were, when you took them, and how far you ran.”
The app is available for download here:
Ethan was inspired to create the app because it actually began as an assignment in his App Development class at RHS. He used the assignment in this course to his advantage, and put his own innovative twist on the project. “The assignment was simply to create an app to track routes for runners. The user would have to press a button to let the app know that they’d made a turn, so it would only track location due to user interaction,” Ethan said. “I decided to take this a step further and enable the app to create a seamless path based on the user’s location without needing constant interaction, because who wants to pull out their phone every two minutes while running? From there, I actually received a lot of positive feedback from others asking me to put in on the App Store, so I decided I would do just that!”
Ethan began working on the app in January of this year and had most of the functionality working within two to three weeks. He had initially planned on releasing the app much sooner, but didn’t have enough time to finish it while balancing his school workload and other projects he was working on. The extended school closure gave Ethan the opportunity to polish the app and get it ready for release.
He has gained a lot from this experience and intends to apply what he has learned to his future with computer programming. “One of my personal goals with this project was to utilize a new tool that Apple released at the end of last year called SwiftUI. SwiftUI is a brand-new way to make apps that makes them more responsive and easy to develop, but it requires learning an entirely new set of concepts in computer science,” Ethan said. “I had been using it to create simple apps before, but I wanted to make a full-featured app with SwiftUI from the ground up. I’ve definitely learned a lot about declarative coding versus imperative coding. Though it took a while to get used to it, I definitely see the potential in this new way of structuring apps. Overall, it has been a very exciting and fun experience filled with many lessons along the way.”
Ethan first started to develop a passion for computer science when he was just 10 years old. He found a game on his Nintendo 3DS which allowed individuals to code in Basic, which is a coding language. “My first program was a password program that I built for a pillow fort,” Ethan said. “Talk about a program made by a 10 year old! From then on, my parents enrolled me in many different programming classes so I could hone my skills, and I’ve been enthralled by the field of computer science ever since. My favorite part of computer science is that it allows me to utilize both the logical side and creative side of my personality. I’ve never really been into art, so having ideas for apps or games and bringing them to life has given me an outlet to express my creativity. There are so many different ways to do something while coding that you have to think of both the most logical and creative way to create it. Striking that balance is what keeps programming fun for me.”
Ethan has many ideas for apps he would like to complete in the future, but his current aspiration is to develop a game. He has been learning how to create virtual reality games over the past year. Since the quarantine started, he has missed the ability to play card games with his friends. Over the summer, he wants to begin to work on a new way to play card games in virtual reality from anywhere in the country.
Ethan is currently enrolled to study at Rutgers University, with a guaranteed transfer to Georgia Tech for the Fall 2021 term. He plans to major in computer science with the intention of earning his undergraduate and master’s degree in the discipline. His dream job is to work at Apple as a software engineer. “Ever since I had the opportunity to visit Apple in California and interact directly with their software engineers, I’ve been dead set on working there myself one day,” Ethan said.
Ethan is thankful for his experience at Randolph High School and the learning opportunities he has gained from being in the district. “RHS definitely has a lot of great teachers. I don’t think I can really say I’ve had a single “bad” teacher,” Ethan said. “All of the teachers are really invested in their students, and if you choose to be invested too you’ll really grow both academically and emotionally. The dedication of the teachers at RHS definitely has to be my greatest takeaway from the last four years.”
The computer science program in particular has also left an indelible impression on his life. “Programming and math have been my favorite subjects at RHS. It goes back to my logical mind; I love solving puzzles in creative ways. When I solve a challenging math problem or when I’m working on a brand-new app, I feel a sense of accomplishment,” Ethan said. “I won’t choose a favorite teacher, but Mr. Horner and Mr. Douglas have both challenged me and aided my growth in positive ways throughout high school, and I’m glad I had both of them as my teachers.”
As Ethan looks to the future, he hopes that others will be inspired to take risks and challenges while they are in high school. “It may sound like I had it “cut out” for me since I got into computer science at such a young age, but I just want to encourage others not to be discouraged to face a challenge,” Ethan said. “It’s never too late to learn something new and become really good at it if you put your mind to it. I’m friends with some students that hadn’t done much CS at all, but quickly developed a passion for it and even won an award for their efforts. As long as you put in the effort, you can achieve whatever you can believe.”