At times, Andy Shih still finds himself overwhelmed by the groundswell of interest in autism apps he's seen in the three years since Apple Inc. released the first iPad.
In his role as senior vice president for scientific affairs atAutism Speaks, a national advocacy organization based in New York, Shih helped organize a "hacking autism" event in San Francisco with cosponsor AT&T Inc. that drew 135 developers. It was the group's third event, following previous hackathons co-sponsored with Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. Over the course of 24 hours, teams built prototypes for more than a dozen apps.
When it was all done, the winning application was a review service called RevTilt that combined Yelp listings with the ability to provide specific comments and ratings about which businesses were the most friendly to autistic families. It's an example of just how rich and diversified autism apps have become, Shih said.
"For me, it's extremely gratifying to walk into a room and you have a couple of hundred developers there to support families," Shih said.