KCRG-TV: UI Engineering Students Take Part in Modern Marvels Program

Saturday, May 10, 2014

By Sarah McCarthy

Being able to walk through someone else’s home or apartment, all without leaving your own couch. It sounds impossible, but a group of University of Iowa engineers made an app for that.

“College students are always looking for a place to live,” said Kaitlyn Dornbier, a University of Iowa senior in the engineering school. “But it’s impossible to find a place.”

So she and her team of fellow students created Walk Thru. It’s an app that’s basically a virtual realtor and lets you tour an apartment or house that’s on the market, instead of just looking at still images.

It even gives you directions to get there.

“We want something that’s relevant and pertinent,” Dornbier said. “We wanted to find something that matters and that people are going to use.”

But that’s just one of the dozens of project that U of I seniors showcased at the annual Modern Marvels event in downtown Iowa City.

It’s a part of the science, technology, engineering, and math initiative, and aims to get high school students involved in the process.

“It’s the only class that’s very concrete.” said Adam Zabner, a freshman at City High in Iowa City, “You take what you learn in math and other classes and you apply it.”

Zabner said he hopes to someday also enter the engineering field, and today gave him an opportunity to ask question about what it’s like.

“I’ve mostly been asking them how they come up with their ideas.” he said.

And the creators behind the projects are impressed with the curiosity they’ve seen.

“They’re even more passionate about it,” Dornbier said. “They’re all saying ‘I can’t wait, I want to start now.’”

Which is something that she said is important for the future of the field.

“We need to start getting our youth really involved and really push them to be creative,” Dornbier said. “Find what you’re passionate about and go do it.”