An app to help fill the technology gap

Owning a computer isn't a big deal to most students in coastal Orange County.

Middle-schoolers have iPhones, laptops are commonplace for high-schoolers, and some were lucky enough to stand in line for an iPad 2 this year.

However, a group of Sage Hill School juniors learned that to many kids in the world, technology is a gift.

Students at the Newport Coast private school underwent a service learning project during their third year. Michael Yorita, Robert Rouhani, Matthew Masarik, Devin Reed and Zayd Simjee made a unique proposal: Create an Android app, with proceeds going to the Youth For Technology Foundation.

The Youth For Technology Foundation is a Kentucky-based nonprofit that brings technology to marginalized communities in Africa and the U.S. So far, the organization has trained more than 30,000 youth in technology, linked American schools with African schools in its "digital peer" program, and donated more than 450 computers in the U.S. and Africa.

"We think it's a great charity," Michael, 17, said. "Their goal is to bridge the technology gap between countries like the U.S. and developing countries."

Using their passion for technology and their applied knowledge from their Advanced Placement computer science course, the five began work on the app, which they describe as a series of puzzles, last October.

The group chronicled their progress on their blog, Lightning Development, where they took screenshots of different stages in development.

On Sunday, they announced that their app, "Circuit Crawler," is available to download.

"Next year, as seniors, we want to expand on the game and add new levels," Michael said. "We want to keep helping and the best way to do that is to pass on the project to students like us."

Michael and his team gave the app to the foundation, so as not to confuse how proceeds would be distributed. They are still helping in the back end and hope to continue improving the game, eventually passing it on when they graduate.

"Circuit Crawler" is available for 99 cents at

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