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Game on Fractions Looks to Round Up Students

Learning fractions isn’t meant to be fun but Alex Bozman wants to change that. The Santa Clarita entrepreneur has released a mobile game incorporating learning about factoring and prime numbers. “Fractions are one of the points where math starts to get hard and students get frustrated,” said Bozman, who distributes the game through his Nuhubit Software Studios. “I wanted to help that problem.” Bubbly Primes became available last month through the iTunes app store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. A version for Android devices is not planned, Bozman said, because of lack of resources at his one-man company. Nuhubit is one of three fledgling companies based out of the Santa Clarita Business Incubator, sponsored by the city’s Economic Development Division, and the Small Business Development Center at College of the Canyons. Bozman worked for a year on coding and animating Bubbly Primes, doing much of the work himself. “It is refreshing to have an entrepreneur so engaged and determined to make his mark in the marketplace with something different,” said Catherine Grooms, the director of the Small Business Development Center. Other startups in the incubator, located in a former library building in the Old Town Newhall neighborhood, are Kovariant, a data modeling and analytics company, and Thinkquarium Entertainment, which has developed a business model of creating original story lines for content in online programs, TV series and films. Before starting Nuhubit, Bozman had been a software engineer with an aerospace company in Van Nuys. He also plays and teaches the cello, a skill he said came in handy in creating music for Bubbly Primes. Even with his software background, Bozman had little experience in coding programs, which he learned in order to create the game. He also learned how to do hand-drawn animation with help from an employee of one of the other incubator companies who loaned him an textbook used at CalArts in Valencia. “For the music, I arranged and performed a piece from Renaissance composer John Dowland,” Bozman said. “The music contributes to the atmosphere that I built with the game.” The rules of Bubbly Prime are simple – bubbles float on the screen containing a composite number (that can be divided by more than one number) or a prime number (can only be divided by itself). The player pops the bubbles with the composite numbers and lets the prime numbers float to the top of the screen. Play ends when five composite numbers are not popped. Scoring is based on the composite numbers that are popped. As the score gets higher, sea creatures, such as shrimplike crustaceans, appear that may help or hinder in popping the bubbles. Bozman said that if all he had to do was coding, animation and music, the game would have been completed sooner. But while in the development stage he handled the business aspects of getting the game out, which included marketing, a skill that was new to him. “I really enjoyed the whole process,” he said. Bubbly Primes can be downloaded for $2.99 through Jan. 15, after which it will cost $3.99. Police Drones Microelectronic assembly manufacturer Neo Tech has been selected to develop an unmanned aircraft for a Massachusetts company looking to sell to police departments and security firms. The Chatsworth company will perform work for CyPhy Works, in Danvers, Mass., at its facility in nearby Wilmington. CyPhy develops drones that are connected to a ground control station using microfilaments that provides continuous communication and power to the aircraft. Steve Heinzen, vice president of manufacturing for Neo Tech, said the deal means several things for the company as it can bring a new drone rapidly to market for CyPhy and then scale that business as CyPhy grows and expands. “It is important to us that we strive to put a technology out there for each customer to reach their objective,” Heinzen said. “Their objective as a startup is to get a highly reliable and quality product to market fast and then to scale their business.” CyPhy, founded in 2008, produces two tethered drones – the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications, or PARC, vehicle and the PocketFlyer. Phil Bedard, director of manufacturing for CyPhy, said that Neo Tech was chosen as its partner on the police project due to the close proximity of its Wilmington plant, which will make for seamless engineering and process transfers while moving from development to production of the drone aircraft. “Neo Tech’s global manufacturing capabilities, business tools and engineering services are a good fit for CyPhy as we grow,” Bedard said in a statement. Neo Tech had previously been known as Natel Engineering Co. until merging in April with Fremont’s OnCore Manufacturing and changing its name. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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