By: Diane Stirling
Participants are being sought for the Alpha-phase trial of a new mobile application, PsyQic, designed by two graduate students at the School of Information Studies.
The alpha trial is moving ahead in May, and a Beta stage is expected to begin in June, according to Keisuke Inoue, Ph.D. candidate in Information Science and Technology. He developed the app along with Bin Zhu, an Information Management Master’s program student.
The ingenuity and promise of PsyQic, a product that has been brought to fruition in just the past four months, has been recognized at three recent startup competitions. PsyQic won an award at Emerging Talk, hosted by Syracuse University; was recognized with the “Dreamer and Doer” award and a new innovation prize at the Panasci Business Plan competition sponsored by the Whitman School at SU; and took a second-place prize in the IT/software category at the New York State Business Plan Competition.
PsyQic is “funny, cute, and playful,” its inventor explained. Keisuke described how the app circulates information regarding the kinds of questions people in society are currently curious – and are online asking about–such as the outcomes of games, elections, TV series, and other matters. The app then makes predictions about how those events will turn out. Others who are participating can also make comments. Once an outcome is revealed, users earn points, called qi’s (the Chinese name for spiritual energy, and the word from which the app’s name is derived). Based on the accuracy of their predictions, users can receive badges based on how well they do. The badges are awarded per the level of expertise, with avatars representing various categories of skill, from “weatherman,” to “groundhog,” to “psyqic,” and others. Currently, the Alpha stage testing is available only as an iPhone app.
Aside from his doctoral student status, Keisuke also serves as a mentor for the iSchool Student Sandbox, where he has been helping students move their ideas to market for the last two years. While he is very close to completing his dissertation, the Sandbox environment encouraged Keisuke to get his own idea off the ground, he said, even if that meant dealing with dual areas of academic interest for a time.
“Right now, Syracuse has such great momentum. It’s so exciting here, and the synergy here makes it a great time to create a job and to innovate. It’s been a tough decision between finishing my Ph.D. and creating an innovation,” he laughed.
Although the app is game-like, the concept behind it is parallel to Keisuke’s doctoral focus: how people seek information, how knowledge is created, and how the credibility of information is measured.
Keisuke said that as his innovation plays out, he would like to see PsyQic become the preferred app for those interested in its unique properties. “People want to be a better predictor, and they want to have solid information. Providing solid information is the essence of this app; it’s a very librarian type of thing,” he noted.
While Keisuke understands the interest in his innovation, he also knows it may have appeal for a limited audience. “It may be a small part of people’s lives,” he said of PsyQic, “but I’d like to see that our app will always be there for this niche, and always have predictions and informational resources. It’s not like we’re trying to become facebook,” he laughed. “PsyQic has its niche; but I would like it to be the platform in this niche,” he predicted.
To sign up for the Alpha trial, go to the app’s web site at: http://launch.psyqic.com.