In few years, they will be creators of innovative start-ups, recognised researchers, or, why not, even heads of large IT corporations. In the meantime, 400 students battled it out in Warsaw this July, during the worldwide finals of the Imagine Cup competition organised by Microsoft.
Their mission was simple: bring together their best IT skills to address one of the challenges of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in several categories including software design, embedded development, game design, and digital media.
The Europeans did not let us down: Team GERAS (Geriatric Emergency Recognition and Assistance System) from France was inspired by grandparents who had experienced bad falls and were unable to get help. They developed a system to provide safety and security to the elderly and came third worldwide in their category. Team NomNom Productions from Belgium came second in the game design category for its interesting take on a basic puzzle game, wrapped around the idea of an island facing various challenges including pollution, heat and drought.
While waiting for a future European victory (hopefully at the 2011 competition, which will be held in the USA), here are the projects which won the five categories:
Integrating deaf students in the class room
Thailand’s Team Skeek, from the University of Kasetsart took the first place in the software design category. The team’s project, eyeFeel, uses a number of technologies, including speech and facial recognition systems and a text-to-sign language translator, to facilitate real-time conversations with someone who is hearing impaired.
Team Skeek said they will keep working on eyeFeel to bring it to market. Currently, eyeFeel only supports English, so the team’s next step is to embed Thai-language support. In the meantime they simply want to enjoy their win at the Imagine Cup 2010 Worldwide Finals.
Smarter control of your electricity usage
The good old electric meter is out of date! The SmarterME project, helps quickly visualise, the energy usage of the various appliances in the home. Developed by a Taiwanese team at the the project targets the average family but the team will create a version that can monitor buildings as large as an office tower. Ateneo de Manila University: we can get rid of these ills, provided we work together.
How did they get the idea? One of the project members received an electricity bill which was sky-high.
Recruiting volunteers using a video game
Fight poverty, gender inequalities or climate change. In Wildfire, was judged as best video game in its category for developing a game where you fight for noble causes for which you need to bring together as many volunteers as you can. The subliminal message of the ‘By Implication’ team from the
OneMan team from China
The ‘IT Challenge’ category is a bit peculiar: contrary to the others, candidates are judged on a live performance, which Weiqiu Wen, of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, won. You can see an in-depth account here. But what was the link with the Millenium Development Goals? Participants were asked to develop a system that keeps power consumption to a minimum.
30 hours to think and create a film
This is the challenge that the Taiwanese team from the National Taipei University of Technology won within the digital media category. Check out the video of their creation.
This article was initially published in RSLN, Microsoft France’s social lab.