Mental Health Meets Technology In Apple WWDC23 Swift Student Challenge Winner’s App, ‘City Night’

Every year, Apple challenges students across the globe to create an original app playground using the Swift coding language, aka the Swift Student Challenge. The challenge is part of the brand’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and this year’s challenge, in particular, has increased the number of winners from 350 to 375 students.

One of whom, is Singapore’s very own Jiang Tongyu.

Jiang is a 17-year-old student from Raffle Girls School and her app ‘City Night’ is an app where mental health meets technology and reminds its users to take a break from their busy lives.

city night

“Life is a constant struggle against the weight of expectations to always be productive and successful, and sometimes we fall under the pressure — it’s difficult to remember to slow down and take care of ourselves. In this experience that I created, titled ‘City Night’, I hope to remind the player that it’s okay to take a break and accept help from others when things get tough, and it’s the small moments of love that make life worth living,” said Jiang.

In ‘City Night’, users live through the eyes of a stressed student on her way home through the rain. On their walk, they have to complete tasks such as drag-and-drop Math problems and multiple-choice questions to keep up with her busy schedule. The user will face some challenges along the way – like slipping and falling down in the rain. It is during challenges that Jiang intends to teach users about taking care of themselves.

city night

“When she falls and slips on the wet pavement, a friend with an umbrella finds her in her breakdown and offers shelter from the storm. It is during this moment of connection and vulnerability that she learns to take a step back and take care of herself, and that it’s okay to lean on her friends for support,” continued Jiang.

The app is hand-drawn and animated by the 17-year-old. The teenager even composed her own music for ‘City Night’ using GarageBand. Mental health is a topic close to Jiang’s heart. Aside from ‘City Night’, Jiang also made ‘Healing Cafe‘, a one-stop mental health solution website for youth.

Jiang is also one of the twelve winners worldwide to present her app virtually to Apple CEO Tim Cook ahead of WWDC.

“Being able to share my Swift Student Challenge entry with Tim Cook himself felt unreal.
And hearing about the other students’ winning entries was also extremely insightful! There were so many cool ideas and projects from everyone. I’ve felt a newfound sense of inspiration after that sharing,” said Jiang.

Other Swift Student Challenge Winners include Asmi Jain, Yemi Agesin and Marta Michelle Caliendo. Jain created an app playground designed to help users strengthen their eye muscles whereas Agesin combined both his passions – sports and filmmaking. Caliendo’s app is a memory game featuring anatomically correct pictures of dinosaur fossils.