15-year-old Indian American wins Apple’s app challenge

Wednesday 09th June 2021 06:45 EDT

CALIFORNIA: Indian-American student Abinaya Dinesh, 15, has been chosen among the winners of annual ‘WWDC21 Swift Student Challenge’, Apple announced. She has created an app called Gastro at Home, which she plans to launch on the App Store this summer. Passionate about the intersection of medicine and technology, Abinaya has helped other young women learn the basics of programming and machine learning in her hometown of North Brunswick, New Jersey.

“I went to a gastroenterologist and he diagnosed me with a pelvic floor disorder,” said Abinaya, “but then told me nothing about how I was supposed to get better.” The ‘Gastro at Home’ app offers people with gastrointestinal disorders a way to access information and resources, especially because those types of conditions can sometimes be sensitive to talk about.

Apple has selected 350 Swift Student Challenge winners from 35 different countries and regions, as it opens all-virtual ‘Worldwide Developers Conference 2021’ from June 7-11. “We are incredibly proud that more young women applied and won than ever before, and we are committed to doing everything we can to nurture this progress and reach true gender parity,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing.

“I think it’s important that we keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, because nobody is going to do it for us,” said Abinaya, who is among the three young women winners. Over the last year, Abinaya has also started her own non-profit, Impact AI, to foster learning and ethical practices in artificial intelligence among young people. As part of it, she launched an eight-week high school programme called ‘Girls in AI’, to teach young women the basics of programming and machine learning.

“I’m super big on teaching,” said Abinaya. “Showing the next generation that this technology exists and can lead to huge advancements in medicine and society is so important.” After she graduates high school, Abinaya has her sights set on either medical school or a degree in computer science so she can keep finding new ways to use technology to advance the medical field.

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