TelliTurn wins Rep. Brian Higgins’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in New York’s 26th District

Rep. Brian Higgins has named Eric Yang from Williamsville East High School as the winner of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in New York’s 26th District.


When asked what inspired the creation of TelliTurn, the student said, “I am a musician myself and turning pages is one of the most annoying problems to take care of while playing, especially when playing solo or with a small group. A page turn can throw off everyone and cause unnecessary confusion. Foot pedals were an option, but they were expensive and only worked with virtual documents. After brainstorming, I thought of a non-intrusive solution that would be hands-free. Using facial gestures to turn pages of a book would remove the need for a pedal and also the need to stop to turn pages. First, I thought of using a robot with a camera mounted on it. However, this would be difficult to test as the arduino boards do not have enough processing power to run the complex task of facial recognition. Using a phone connected with Bluetooth was a much better solution and it also allowed for the creation of the software version of the page turner.”

The 2021 Congressional App Challenge yielded 2,101 fully functioning apps. After eighteen months of disruptions to educational cadences for students everywhere, the Congressional App Challenge came roaring back with 7,174 students registering for this year’s competition. All told, 340 Members of Congress hosted Congressional App Challenges in their districts across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, theCoderSchool, Facebook, Replit, Accenture, and others.

The 2022 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2022, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.