VisionBound wins Rep. Byron Donalds’ 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Florida’s 19th District

Rep. Byron Donalds has named Nicholas Harty of Fort Myers High School and Aum Dhruv of Fort Myers High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Florida’s 19th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of VisionBound, the students said, ”Diabetic retinopathy is a complication caused by an existing history of diabetes/diabetic symptoms that can slowly deteriorate a person’s vision and can even lead to partial blindness. Often this diabetic complication can be treated by timely management of the condition and/or modern laser eye treatments/surgery. However, this treatment of diabetic retinopathy cannot completely cure the disease and, when left untreated, its effects seemingly take on worse results. These severe cases are often seen in developing nations where general access to medical testing is bleak with most patients unsure of their severity until physical implications become apparent. In fact, 79% of the adults with diabetes reside within low-to-middle income nations and serve a major risk of joining the estimated 93 million people worldwide suffering from diabetic retinopathy.  Without significant medical testing, which can often prove expensive, and local ophthalmologists, this population is the most at risk of developing blindness and suffering the consequences of vision imparity. In this sense, the recent development of low-cost neural networks as a means of detecting early stages of diabetic retinopathy has become a much-needed solution to centuries of unknown suffering as a result of this complication.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

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, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.