Summaries of The AMOS Projects Winter 2018/19

I just helped finish three AMOS projects, all with IAV Engineering, at TU Berlin (Prof. Schieferdecker). Below, please find the project summaries for the projects:

  1. FlyInn (a multi-modal app to manage a large array of embedded devices),
  2. Corridor Navigation (an app to provide multi-path navigation suggestions), and
  3. Adrenaline (an app for the motorbiking community to connect and share.


Project name FlyInn
Project mission FlyInn aims at providing an improved multi-modal experience by enabling users to control their smartphone from an embedded device. The project’s final product should be an MVP, showing people how the technology works so that potential users or companies might be interested in the product. FlyInn should cover 95% of all devices (Android) and all different display types. The MVP should run on a common device, 2 other and in the best case on 4 other devices.
Industry partner IAV Engineering
Project logo
Project summary For the FlyInn AMOS project, our team of 9 students worked together with the IAV Digital Lab to create the FlyInn app. It allows for the remote control of a user’s smartphone through the screen of an embedded device, to be deployed on bicycles or e-bikes. We were able to overcome our inexperience with the Android stack and related technologies and achieve a steady and productive work rhythm as a team, in large part thanks to the SCRUM approach which was followed rigorously. All main envisaged features were implemented successfully and the finished product attracted highly positive reactions at the AMOS demo day.
Project illustration
Team photo N/A
Project repository

Corridor Navigation

Project name Corridor Navigation
Project mission Our mission is to develop a working basic navigation application that features route coloring and real-time route calculation for every single point of choice. The developed app is stable and performant and calculates the shortest three routes from an arbitrary point of choice to the destination. It may be extended with more features (e.g. calculation of route depending on traffic) in the future.
Industry partner IAV Engineering
Project logo
Project summary To solve the problem that is stated in our project mission, an Android application is built on the Mapbox SDK. By taking this approach, two challenges had to be solved: how to draw alternative routes on this map and how to calculate alternative routes? Mapbox provides an ​ API service​ for calculating routes, which is limited to 50k free requests per month. By calculating alternative routes at every intersection, this becomes costly. In order to solve this, a self managed routing server using ​ OSRM​ (Open Streetmap Routing Machine) is set up to make the project independent from the commercial Mapbox routing service […]
Project illustration
Team photo
Project repository


Project name Adrenaline
Project mission The mission of this project is to achieve a functional product that has the core features implemented. Simple users/bikers should be able to create a profile to be able interact with other users through chats, to share and attend events and to create routes. Business customers should have a platform to promote their services.
Industry partner IAV Engineering
Project logo
Project summary Our team, composed out of 9 members, all with different technical backgrounds, got together to develop an app meant to bring the motorbiking community closer by designing a space that would allow members to share their interests with other fellow bikers. The app allows the creation of 2 user types, basic users and business customers, thus giving businesses an opportunity to connect with the community. After 4 months of hard work, our team managed to successfully implement all the core features of the product. The current version of app looks promising, allowing space for further development and feature addition.
Project illustration
Team photo
Project repository

Too Many Points of Failure (at Theranos)

I just finished reading John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood, which presents the story of the rise and fall of one-time Silicon Valley unicorn Theranos through his eyes as the journalist who broke the story. In case you missed it: Theranos was a healthcare company promising to sell a machine that could perform quickly and reliably a large number of blood tests needed by medical doctors to aid their patient care. The hitch: The technology never worked and Theranos managed to hide this from investors and the public for a long time.

Continue reading “Too Many Points of Failure (at Theranos)”

Why Do Episodic Volunteers Stay in FLOSS Communities?

Abstract: Successful Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects incorporate both habitual and infrequent, or episodic, contributors. Using the concept of episodic volunteering (EV) from the general volunteering literature, we derive a model consisting of five key constructs that we hypothesize affect episodic volunteers’ retention in FLOSS communities. To evaluate the model we conducted a survey and received responses from over 100 FLOSS episodic volunteers. We observe that three of the constructs (social norms, satisfaction and community commitment) are all positively associated with volunteers’ intention to remain, while the two other constructs (psychological sense of community and contributor benefit motivations) are not. Furthermore, exploratory clustering on unobserved heterogeneity suggests that there are four distinct categories of volunteers: satisfied, classic, social and obligated. Based on our findings, we offer suggestions for projects to incorporate and manage episodic volunteers, so as to better leverage this type of contributors and potentially improve projects’ sustainability.

Keywords: Community management, episodic volunteering, open source software, volunteer management

Reference: Barcomb, A., Stol KJ, Riehle, D., & Fitzgerald, B. (2019). Why Do Episodic Volunteers Stay in FLOSS Communities? In Proceedings of the 41st International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2019).

The paper is available as a PDF file.

IAV Presents Side-window Entertainment at CES 2019, a 2017/18 AMOS Project

At CES 2019, IAV, a German automotive engineering firm, presented the side-window entertainment showcase. In this demo, you can see users interact with the side-window of a car. A camera records the view out of the window, another camera tracks the passenger’s focus, and a transparent OLED display overlaid on top of the window both shows the passenger interesting location-sensitive content as well as interacts with them. Below, please see a demo video and/or read the article (in German). The first version of the software was developed by students of TU Berlin in a 2017/18 AMOS Project.

How my Ph.D. Students Work With Supporting Students (Hint: Not Scrum)

As mentioned in a previous blog post, my Ph.D. students are often experienced software developers who take on the role of a chief programmer in the development of the software system supporting their research. In this work, at any point in time, each of my Ph.D. students is typically supported by 2-7 Bachelor and Master students who contribute to the system under development. Taking a long-term perspective, my Ph.D. students develop quality software rather than throw-away prototypes.

The chief programmer idea is key to making such work successful. While I usually conceive and direct the research, the size of my group has led me to let my Ph.D. students take care of any actual development themselves. (Usually…) In this role, as the chief programmer, they become the central point of coordination and integration of engineering work. In academia, this is a necessity, because an engineering dissertation is typically a multi-year project, while final thesis students, the main source of junior programmers supporting the chief engineer, are only around for six months. Thus, the chief programmer becomes the central technical hub and provider of sustained knowledge of the system under development.

Continue reading “How my Ph.D. Students Work With Supporting Students (Hint: Not Scrum)”

Chief Programmer Teams Alive And Well in Academia

According to Wikipedia, “a chief programmer team is a programming team organized in a star around a “chief” role, granted to the software engineer who understands the system’s intentions the best. Other team members get supporting roles.” Amusingly, this set-up is alive and well in academia, and for good reason. At least my research group is using it and it works well for us.

Continue reading “Chief Programmer Teams Alive And Well in Academia”

Upcoming Industry Talk on Scaled Agile to Support the “Digital Transformation” in the Financial Services Industry by Munir Mahrufi and Sahar Khaksar of Deloitte Consulting GmbH

Post-talk update: The talk slides are now available.

We will host an industry talk on “Scaling Scrum” in AMOS, our agile methods course. The talk is free and open to the public.

  • by: Munir Mahrufi and Sahar Khaksar, Deloitte Consulting GmbH
  • about: Scaled Agile to Support the “Digital Transformation” in the Financial Services Industry
  • on: January 31st, 2019, 10:15 Uhr
  • at: IAV DigiLab, Hallerstr. 6, 1. OG, Berlin (Charlottenburg)
  • as part of: AMOS speaker series

Continue reading “Upcoming Industry Talk on Scaled Agile to Support the “Digital Transformation” in the Financial Services Industry by Munir Mahrufi and Sahar Khaksar of Deloitte Consulting GmbH”