*UPDATE* Art U Alumna Helps Improve Tenderloin With an AR App

TeenTend is now officially live and available via the App Store!

It’s official! TeenTend is now live and available for download via the App Store for all iOS users! Make those long walks around the neighborhood more productive. Contribute to its improvement by letting your feelings be heard!

Again, a hearty congratulations to Faranak Razavi and the rest of the TeenTend team for a job well done! We’re so proud of you!

TeenTend Hackathon app

With Tech in the Tenderloin’s Hackathon grant, our game design alumna created an augmented reality app that shares feelings about your neighborhood.

Known as the tech hub of the nation, San Francisco is a city of diverse cultures and eclectic style of architecture and urban design. All of us love the metropolis for different reasons; whether it be the booming financial district or the beautiful bay area landscape, we all fondly call the city our home. As the city continues to evolve, we find it even more important to improve our communities for safety and opportunities.

Passionate about using technology to improve lives, game design degree alumna Faranak Razavi created an augmented reality app with the help of Tech in Tenderloin’s grant. Her app, TeenTend (formerly Tenderfeels), uses character emojis to reflect the user’s feeling on the state of a particular area in the neighborhood.

The Journey of TeenTend

Razavi first pitched her app idea in the Tech in Tenderloin’s Hackathon 2017 event, competing against students from various universities. The competition’s main theme: technology as a tool to improve the notoriously high-crime community in the Tenderloin. 

Her idea, which envisioned a community empowered through an app that lets them give instant feedback on their immediate surrounding, received a $10,000 grant for its innovative approach to helping improve the communities in Tenderloin.

Since receiving the grant, Razavi and the rest of the TeenTend team has been working with city officials, children and parents to develop and refine it.

According to Razavi, the main purpose of the app is to “use one of the five characters” to “reflect something [that] is good or bad about their neighborhood.” She also envisioned the app to “improve every single neighborhood one street at a time.”

Users can earn points by contributing to the society with their reactions to improve the community.

The Importance of Student Opportunities

Razavi is an outstanding example of students applying what they’ve learned to the real world. Through the Tech in Tenderloin’s Hackathon event, she used her technological expertise to bring good to the community. 

Hackathons are not the only way for students to contribute to the community. Non-profit organizations, student clubs, workshops and competitions are all ways students can gain experience in the field. Each opportunity not only helps students gain much needed practical skills, but also understand what exactly do they want in a future career.

Additional Student Opportunities

There are so many ways for school learnings to be made into real-world applications—joining student competitions is just one of them. Other ways to participate include joining local organizations or school clubs. You’ll be able to tangibly help local communities by playing integral parts through these groups.

Academy of Art’s career services also tip students on upcoming events, internships, guest speaker workshops, and lectures to help students bring their expertise to the real world.

Be on the lookout for these notifications. The next time an opportunity like Tech in Tenderloin opens up, take that leap and join to show them what you’ve got! Your idea just might be the next TeenTend.

To learn more about game design, visit the Academy of Art University School of Game Development. If you’re interested in attending the university, request more information to speak with our admissions representative! Made up your mind to apply? You can start your application today.

Images courtesy of TeenTend
Article originally published on June 25, 2019