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Naval Academy Midshipmen Create “Next Meal” iPhone App

Posted on: January 16, 2014 12:00 EST by Midshipman 1st Class Colleen Randolph

By Midshipman 1st Class Colleen Randolph

When Midshipman 1st Class Michael Madrid, of Vancouver, Wash., emerged hungry from his 4th-period class during youngster year, an idea struck him. Wouldn’t it be great he thought, if there was a way to have all King Hall meal information at our fingertips to give us a heads up about what we are about to eat?

Fast forward two and a half years: Madrid’s idea has become reality in the form of a newly developed i-Phone application named “Next Meal.”

Madrid, an aeronautical engineering, lacked the knowledge of programming code to develop his idea, but he teamed up with fellow 3rd Company mate Midshipman 3rd Class Anson Liu of Fremont, Calif. Liu, who became interested in programing in high school, is a computer science major here at the academy.

“It became my Thanksgiving project and was developed over a period of two weeks,” said Liu.

The midshipmen worked with the Midshipmen Food Services Department, who is always looking for ways to improve their already impressive service of more than 4,000 midshipmen at a time.

“They were incredibly supportive,” said Madrid.

The two mids initially tested the app on a beta group of six midshipmen during finals week in December, a key time for midshipmen on the run to know what was for dinner.

When ready, Madrid put together a team of “marketers” to help develop a commercial, take photos and even design a sleek opening graphic, which of course includes an anchor in honor of the academy.

The response was phenomenal.

“Within the first 12 hours we had more than 880 users, more than 1,000 users in the first 24 hours,” said Liu, and the numbers continue to grow.

The app is available for free in the iTunes store. Following its release, several midshipmen approached Madrid and his team with interest in developing and Android app as well.

Additionally, Madrid and Liu are planning future updates, including a rating system for mids to be used by the Food Service Department and nutritional information so midshipmen can make smart and healthy decisions when they dine in King Hall.

Both Madrid and Liu stated their interest in maintaining the App and passing it on to future groups of midshipmen after graduation.

“We want to ensure the longevity and use of the application,” said Madrid.

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