Necessity is the mother of invention and this is once again proved by a girl from Herndon, Virginia. Like all girls around the world, Medha Gupta felt uneasy making the 20-minute walk from her bus stop where the school bus dropped her at her home in Herndon, Virginia. It was the colder months when it gets dark early that scared her the most. However, her mother had a brilliant suggestion which fuelled an invention worth applause, her mother suggested to write an app. Medha Gupta’s mother Divya Gupta was actually kidding but her daughter, a sophomore at Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology took the challenge and successfully built one and went on to win the annual Congressional App Challenge. She created an app that would help commuters traveling alone more secure. The Indian-American teenager won the Congressional App challenge for her app, Safe travel. Also Read - 2 Amazon Employees Held For Stealing iPhones From Company's Warehouse in Haryana

16-year-old Medha Gupta said, “I knew I had a problem I needed to solve.” She created an app called Safe Travel that would help commuters feel more secure when traveling alone. Using their iPhone a person can program the app to send out an SOS or an alert to someone they trust if they fail to make it to their destination in the stipulated time period. The app can be used only on iOS software. Safe travel is Medha Gupta’s first app. Her inaugural effort impressed the judges for the annual Congressional App Challenge, who selected her as the winner for Virginia’s 10th District. Huawei P20 Could Be The World’s First Triple-Camera Cellphone Also Read - Wow! Man Drops iPhone From Airplane & Surprisingly It Survives The 2,000 Ft Fall; Even Records Video of The Incident!

Watch Medha Gupta talk about her app, Safe Travel in this video:

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Medha Gupta’s father, Manmohan Gupta who has a computer engineering background said, “We were elated.” The Congressional App Challenge is held to encourage students in taking up careers in science, technology, engineering, and math by taking up coding and computer science. It takes its cue from Congressional Art Competition, where student artists compete to have their artwork displayed at the Capitol. In 2017, the challenge which was once restricted to high school students was opened to students in grades K-12 across the country.

Rachel Decoste, executive director of the App Challenge said, “This contest is about building the domestic pipeline for the jobs of the future.” More than 4,100 students had submitted nearly 1,300 apps this year. One winner was chosen for each congressional district that participated. Medha Gupta’s app Safe travel beat many deserving candidates in Virginia’s 10th District. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va said, “We are always delighted to see the innovation and talent that our students demonstrate through the annual Congressional App Challenge. It is this kind of skill and innovation which makes this contest so rewarding each year.”

U.S. House of Representatives had started the app challenge initiative but is managed by the nonprofit Internet Education Foundation. Students who win the challenge are invited to attend a reception on Capitol Hill in April and also receive $250 in Amazon Web Service credits. Troy Murphy, public policy manager with the Northern Virginia Technology Council, who was also one of the judges on the panel said, “It’s really interesting to see the different apps these kids come up with.” He said that he voted for Medha Gupta’s app because “dealt with an important pressing problem.”

Medha did not think much of the congressional challenge in mind when she designed the app, she was just trying to overcome a problem, and she is just interested in using technology to solve everyday problems. She was familiar with several programming languages as she participated in several ‘hackathons’ where students gather to tackle problems using technology. However, she said that it helped that she is a bit “obsessed” with her iPhone, but that obsession triggers her sense of discovery about the powers of apps. Medha Gupta said, “Since I’m so obsessed with my phone, I wanted to learn how each app runs and what goes into creating them.” It took her 40 hours to design, program, test and troubleshoot the app. Safe Travel app is not available for download but she is thinking of offering some version of it in Apple’s App Store in the future.