U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (District FL-27) recently announced Gulliver Prep’s Gaetan Almela and Kristian Zedan as winners of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge for high school students in Florida’s 27th Congressional District.
The student duo was named winners for their ChromaTilt app, designed to help people with colorblindness better distinguish colors in real life.
For the second consecutive year, Gulliver has won its district’s Challenge, as Vicki Rios (Class of 2017) took first place in 2016 with her Simple Sign app.
The Congressional App Challenge promotes education in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) field. This year marks the third official Challenge, as 190 Congressional districts across 42 states hosted app challenges for student constituents. Over 4,100 students participated, yielding 1,270 original student-created apps.
Under the direction of Gulliver Prep computer science faculty member Dean Morell, it took the duo about three weeks to research and design the app from scratch.
“The app uses a phone’s camera app,” Gaetan said. “The user can tap on the screen or change the settings so that the screen will automatically adjust the colors in a way that will help them see better through their screen than in real life.”
Kristian added, “We take the hues of light that they can’t see, and shift them a certain degree away from that. The closer it is to being able to be seen, the farther it will be from the edge.”
Similar technology has been used in video games and is used in some color blind products on the market such as EnChroma lenses.
“The glasses that are sold are super expensive so we wanted to help people who can’t afford them,” said Kristian, who was born with colorblindness. “You don’t just not see colors; they also melt together and we can’t tell the difference.”
The ChromaTilt app is free and not only does it replicate what the glasses do, it is completely adjustable for as many user profiles and settings as needed.
The Congressional App Challenge will invite winners from across the country to showcase their apps to the members of Congress and members of the tech community at #HouseOfCode, a reception on Capitol Hill in April. The students’ work is eligible to be featured for one year on the permanent display in the U.S. Capitol Building and on the House.gov website. Each winning student also will be awarded $250 in Amazon Web Service credits, generously donated by Amazon Web Services.
Gaetan and Kristian will have an opportunity to participate in workshops and network with STEM advocates who oversee mentor programs with companies such as Apple, Google, Verizon, Amazon Web Services, Capital One and PayPal.
In addition to this year’s winning app, Gulliver received an unprecedented number of additional honors for the 2017 Challenge including:
Second place — Matthew Garcia, Ryan Costa and Daniel Fleites-Cruz for their app, Emergency Disaster Guide;
Honorable mention — David Krajewski, Lilly Enekes and Jacob Kantor for their app, Allergy Ally, and
Honorable Mention — Karen Liberman for her app, Secure Me.
A list of all 2017 Congressional App Challenge winners can be found at CongressionalAppChallenge.us.