In conjunction with its WWDC virtual developer event, Apple held a Swift Student Challenge where students 13 and older were invited to create Swift Playgrounds projects. Apple has announced that there are 350 winners from 41 countries, but has chosen to highlight the efforts of three students who have done much more than create a Swift Playgrounds project.
Sofia Ongele, Palash Taneja, and Devin Green all “view challenges in the world as opportunities to effect change,” as the Apple release says.
Sofia Ongele built the iOS app ReDawn to help survivors of sexual assault. “I wanted to make something that makes this process less isolating,” she said.
Palash Tangeja built a web-based tool that uses machine learning to predict how mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever would spread, after having contracted the disease himself. His entry to the student challenge was a Swift playground that teaches coding while simulating how a pandemic moves through a population, showing how precautions such as social distancing and masks can help slow infection rates.
Devin Green was having trouble waking up in the mornings, so he designed a program using a pressure mat under his bed. If weight is still on the mat after he’s supposed to be up, an alarm goes off and won’t stop until he uses his phone to scan a QR code. His Swift Playgrounds challenge winner includes an artificial-intelligence robot named Stanny that can recognize and respond to 63 different comments and questions.