SPECIAL REPORT: There's an app for that - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: There's an app for that

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MADISON (WKOW) -- From the simple, to the creative, to the bizarre. There are hundreds of thousands of smart phone apps available on the iTunes and Android markets, and some are made here in Madison.

UW-Madison grad student Matt Luedke and his company, SnowShoeFood, have developed a new app to help customers shop local.

"You can scan the bar code of any item in the store, and it even has coupons," said Luedke.

It's called "True Local," an app that let's you see if products at Fresh Madison Market are locally made. If they aren't, the app will give you a list of alternatives.

"It's kind of encouraging people to reconsider what they're buying, in terms of if it's local food or not, and if it is local, then they might even have a financial incentive to buy that."

Another team of UW-Madison grad students are working on an app to make marathons more fun for fans.

Stephen Ranjan, Tyler Heslinga, Vinoth Narasimhan, and Eric Baum's app called "Runner's Fan" lets people track their favorite runner during a race so they know exactly when and where to cheer.

"The runner would have their smart phone on them with the application running. We use the smart phone's built-in GPS capability to track the location of the runner in real time," Heslinga explained. The app is expected to be released in October.

Apps to save you money

RepairPal (free) -- Finds the nearest repair shops, gives you repair and service estimates. Can also locate the nearest tow trucks using GPS.

GasBuddy (free) -- Locate nearby gas stations, find the cheapest gas prices, earn prizes for reporting current gas prices.

Apps to save you time

Open Spot (free) -- Mark available parking spots and see where others have recently marked spots.

Happy Hours (free) -- Find bars and bar specials near you.

Apps that are cool.... but weird

NETRA (free) -- Evaluate your eyesight using an eye chart. With an available attachment ($1 to $2), the app can also diagnose your eyesight and give you glasses prescription.

Blower ($.99) -- Produces a high-pitched tone on your iPhone that blows air out of your speaker, letting to blow out candles and move small bits of paper.

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