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Pallone Announces Winners of 2020 Congressional App Challenge

November 18, 2020
Press Release
DataMeet uses facial recognition technology to provide teachers with real-time updates during distance learning

New Brunswick, NJ - Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) announced the winners of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge for high school and middle school students in New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District. Samay Nandwana from Princeton Day School and Ansh Bhatti and Aditya Shelke from Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies won this year’s competition. Their app “DataMeet” uses facial recognition technology to notify teachers if students appear confused, happy, or sad during online instruction.

DataMeet performs real-time analysis of students’ webcams and transfers the students’ emotional data into a dashboard using different metrics, so that educators can track understanding in real-time and tailor instruction based on the feedback. The app will use machine learning to analyze the faces in a class, checking to see if students understand the lesson. The platform will then transmit this data to the teacher.

“The Congressional App Challenge is an important platform for students to showcase their technical and creative skills,” said Pallone. “I congratulate Samay, Ansh, and Aditya for their winning app and applaud all of this year’s participants for their creativity. I continue to be impressed by the ingenuity displayed by the winning teams each year and would like to thank the judges for their engagement and attention to this year’s contest. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the immense challenges associated with distance learning. This app could truly help educators use real-time data to improve instruction and ensure that students are maximizing their potential. As the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I have seen how critical innovative technology is in creating new industries and opportunities for all Americans. I will continue to support investments in STEM education in New Jersey and across the country.”

The Congressional App Challenge is an annual competition that highlights the value of computer science and STEM education by encouraging high school students to learn how to code through the creation of their own apps. Entries in New Jersey's 6th Congressional District were assessed by a panel of local experts on several criteria, including demonstrated knowledge of coding and programming skills as well as the quality and implementation of their ideas.

As the winning app in the contest, "DataMeet" will be displayed on the Congressional App Challenge Website and on a digital display in the Capitol Building next year.