TechDetect – a Facial Detection Based Attendance Solution wins Rep. Nikema Williams’ 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Georgia’s Fifth District

Rep. Nikema Williams has named William Varner, a 12th Grader at Woodward Academy, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Georgia’s Fifth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of TechDetect, the student said, ”My mother is a college teacher, and she constantly talks about how her students will find creative ways to get around her school’s mandatory attendance policy. From signing others’ names to falsely calling “here!” the students always got away with it as it was too much work for the teachers to track all 200+ of their students down. As a result, I came up with the idea of TechDetect, using facial detection from computer vision, I have created a python application that can combat this, using students’ faces as a way to check themselves in each day.”

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.