Source: Oscar Rodriguez, orodrig@k-state.edu
News tip/hometown connection: Garden City and Salina
Websites: http://129.130.176.90/orodrig/HeroRATApp
and http://www.apopo.org
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642, nblair@k-state.edu

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's a blast: Student's game gives everyone a chance to be a HeroRAT

SALINA -- In many African countries landmines are a threat to daily life. HeroRAT and the Kansas State University Salina chapter of Students in Free Enterprise are working to change that.

K-State Salina student Oscar Rodriguez has created the app game "MineSniffer," based on the popular "Mindsweeper" game, to bring attention to the HeroRAT program. Rodriguez, a junior in engineering technology, Garden City, and president of the Students in Free Enterprise chapter, saw the game as an opportunity to merge several passions: entrepreneurship and computer programming.

"Our SIFE team has partnered with HeroRAT, which is a program that trains African pouched rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis," Rodriguez said. "I always wanted to create an app, so it seemed like a natural fit. Currently the game can be played on any Web-enabled device and I'm continuing the process of packaging it into an app for smartphones."

The game provides information and facts about HeroRAT when players are unsuccessful in avoiding landmines. They also can learn more about the dangerous devices and see photos of the hero landmine-sniffing rats.

"The app itself is free, and the HeroRAT organization can receive donations from it," Rodriguez said.

The app game is available at http://129.130.176.90/orodrig/HeroRATApp.

To date, the HeroRAT program has made more than 5.5 million square meters of land in Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Thailand and Cambodia safer through its landmine surveying and clearance efforts. This release of land provides people with safe access to water sources, agriculture, cattle grazing, transport and general development of areas previously suspected to have landmines. More information about the organization is available at http://www.apopo.org.