April 23, 2018
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Rep. Pingree announces winner of 2017 Congressional App Challenge for Maine’s 1st District

Community Author: Andrew Colvin, Deputy Director of Communications
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As part of Computer Science Education Week, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today that Falmouth High School students John Wahlig and Pawan Yerramilli have won the 2017 Congressional App Challenge for Maine’s 1st District. The team developed an innovative smartphone app to help coaches, athletes and parents quickly diagnose potential concussions.

“Every day, digital devices and the streams of code that run them become a larger and larger part of our lives. The Congressional App Challenge is a great chance for Maine students to learn about everything that goes into developing these products and even start exploring it as a career,” said Pingree.  “I applaud John and Pawan for developing an app that not only looks incredibly professional, but could have a valuable public benefit on the nation’s playing fields. My congratulations as well to all this year’s participants for completing such well conceived and executed programs.”

Wahlig and Yerramalli’s app works by testing several criteria for gauging concussions outlined by the American Neurological Association: critical thinking, reflexes, hand-eye coordination and short-term memory.  Designed with athletics in mind, the tests involve color patterns, number lists and targets that move across the screen, as well as a questionnaire. If the tests are failed, the app recommends seeking medical attention.

The students produced a video to show how the app works. It can be seen here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97ppsfHcyVfcEpFRWtpZDZhM1U/view.

Pingree also recognized two honorable mentions.

Jean Claude Zarate and Julian Bernard of Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in Portland developed baterio, an app to track battery usage for First Robotics Competition robots. Video at: https://youtu.be/wmTxe4oyguU.

Tyler Hansen of South Portland High School developed Meteor Multiplication to test multiplication skills in a fun video game environment. Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CGMlDP-HBo.

The Maine Technology Institute assembled a panel of Maine technology professionals and entrepreneurs to judge the competition. The submissions were judged equally on the criteria of concept, design and coding skill.

The Congressional App Challenge is a nationwide competition—Members of Congress must choose to participate for students in their District to be eligible. Winning apps from each District will be displayed and recognized at an event in Washington, D.C.  The Internet Education Foundation coordinates the competition.