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Last Updated: Friday, 16 April, 2004, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
Software 'chum' to help students
Winners of competition with mentor
Winners will now travel to Brazil
Students have come up with the ultimate university companion, able to help with both academic and social life.

The University Leisure and Lifestyle Manager, (ULL), is software that will work on a smartphone or handheld computer.

It could help students choose their text books and provide feedback on essays.

It will even help them get home from the pub if they get too drunk to make it under their own steam.

Winning formula

At the moment the program is only a prototype. It is the brainchild of three technology students competing in a national competition organised by Microsoft.

The team won the competition after a three-day codeathon. They will travel to Brazil in the summer to represent the UK in a global competition.

Three students prepare their winning entry
The three students worked through the night on their design
Team member Andrew Grieve, a computing science undergraduate at the University of Aberdeen, believes ULL has everything a student could need.

"If students are into academia, then the text book service and the feedback on assessment will be handy," he told BBC News Online.

"But it can also have social aspects built into it such as personalised guides to local pubs."

His favourite feature - Take Me Home, I'm Drunk - is most likely to be used after students have taken advice on the best pubs in the area.

It sends a message to a local taxi firm, detailing the address where the student can be found and their home address.

Other features include a buddy list that can pinpoint a friend's exact geographical location and translation services for foreign students.

'Real buzz'

Mr Grieve is confident the system can be used in the real world.

"Orange has offered subsidised smart phones for students and a lot of universities are getting free wireless access points so students would only be paying for messaging," he said.

Mr Grieve worked with team-mates Ali Gardezi, studying for his MSc at the University of Sheffield and Matt Steeples, a software engineer student from the University of Hull.

The three were chosen out of 4,500 original entrants.

"To be able to design something that could exist in reality to make people's lives better means a lot to me and I feel a real buzz," said Mr Gardezi after winning the competition.

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