San Mateo, CA - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) today announced Manya Goutam, a 10th grade student at San Mateo High School, as the winner of the 2019 Congressional App Competition for her “Brain Buggy,” a mind-controlled robotic wheel chair designed to help paralyzed military veterans move around.

“Manya clearly demonstrates that she has great technical skills and a public service sentiment. She brilliantly combined both in her Brain Buggy,” said Rep. Speier. “I am so impressed with her desire to help our wounded veterans through technology. She discovered a need and created a solution to fill it. I have a feeling that this won’t be Manya’s last invention to help others. She personifies the ingenuity and innovation that characterize the Bay Area.”

Manya explained what inspired her to create the Brain Buggy: “When I was doing research for a history assignment, I read about WWI and WWII and about the fatalities suffered by our brave soldiers. I also read that in recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers had fewer deaths because of better battlefield medical treatment but many came home with serious injuries including paralysis. While this was very sad, I began to think about what I could do to help them in this situation.”

Manya created her robotic wheel chair using the programming language C/C++. The Congressional App Challenge is a nationwide event that allows high school students to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or app, for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice. Winning participants will have their apps displayed at the U.S. Capitol.

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