Indian Student Wins Apple Award For COVID-19 Swift Playground


Indian student Palash Taneja has been selected for the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference Swift Student Challenge award. The 19-year-old student from New Delhi is one of the 350 Swift Student Challenge winners, handpicked from 41 countries. Taneja created a COVID-19 social distancing playground.

Indian Student Wins Apple Award For COVID-19 Swift Playground

Indian Student Wins Apple Award

The Swift Playground shows the pandemic movement simulation through a population, while also highlight how precautions like social distancing and masks can help flatten the curve. Presently, Taneja just finished his freshman year at the University of Texas. He speaks of his passion for coding and how his past experiences have shaped his skills.

Taneja has battled a severe case of dengue in the past, which inspired him to program. “That whole experience of two to three months of suffering – I think that really inspired me to learn programming and to use it as a problem-solving tool,” the Apple blog cites his words.

The Swift Playground with the social distancing theme is one of his latest creations to educate young people about the benefits of keeping distance and wearing masks. Previously, Taneja has also created a web-based tool that uses machine learning to predict the way mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever would spread.

Indian Student Wins Apple Award For COVID-19 Swift Playground

Additionally, he has also initiated creating a program that translates popular online education videos into regional Indian languages. Translating educational programs into nearly 40 languages has helped underprivileged to learn. “I really enjoy working with children, and I think education is one of the things that can create the biggest impact in someone’s life,” Taneja explains.

Apart from Taneja, Dave Jha, an Indian origin student from the US is also selected for the Apple Swift Student Challenge award, who announced his selection on Twitter. Jha created a COVID-19 simulator, which also shows the advantages of social distancing.

The simulator represents people ith small dots and infected people with red dots. It is also capable of toggling the speed, the number of people, asymptomatic conditions, social distancing, forced distancing, and more. All of this is shown in a game mode, which is appealing. The Apple WWDC conference is set to begin on June 22 and we will likely see the announcement of the latest version of iOS and more.

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