Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

Virtual Reality App Wins 2017 Congressional App Challenge in Florida’s 25th District

Jan 25, 2018
Press Release

MIAMI – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) announced that the winner of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge for Florida’s 25th District is VRExperience, an app created by students Diego Landaeta and Diego Mansilla. The students attend Ronald W. Reagan Doral Senior High School in Doral, Florida. They described their app as “a simple walking simulator throughout a pleasant forest. With our app we are trying to open the eye of discovery in science, history and medicine through simulations of real life scenarios.” The team used the Unity Engine and coded the app with C#. The app was highly praised by the judges, an independent panel of local technology and STEM leaders, who rated the submissions anonymously based on a point system.

The Congressman also recognized the teams whose apps received the second- and third-highest points in the overall ranking. The winner and runner-ups are as follows:

1st Place: “VRExperience” created by Diego Landaeta and Diego Mansilla from Ronald Reagan High School in Doral (pictured with Congressman Diaz-Balart and teacher Jamie Gant)

2nd Place: “Plant Dex” created by Emilio de Leon, Ted Bliss, Hadrian Gonzalez, and Vanessa Tascon from Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy in Hialeah (pictured with Congressman Diaz-Balart), described as “a virtual tour of our school’s native arboretum” to engage and educate users about native tree species.   

3rd Place (tied): “Chord Theory” created by Claire Winogrodzki from Naples High School in Naples, which aims to “to help musicians practice and memorize the notes that make up different chords.”

3rd Place (tied): “Dynamic Gestures” created by Anirudh Rahul from Doral Academy in Doral, which aims to “make navigating your Android device both quicker and easier by using a small set of simple gestures that still bring lots of flexibility.”

The Congressional App Challenge is a congressional initiative, managed by the Internet Education Foundation [IEF], a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It was first established by the Congressional Internet Caucus in 2014, and Co-Chairs Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo spearheaded the effort. In 2017, the App Challenge had 193 successful App Challenges hosted by Members of Congress, nearly 4,000 student participants, and more than 1,200 original student-created apps submitted.