As Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention” and yesterday Emily and I got to see amazing inventions during the first day of the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition where 122 students on 33 teams from around the world presented their ideas in the fields of Games, Innovation, and World Citizenship. As they competed for the top spot in their category and a grand prize of $50,000 and time with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, Emily and I sat and listened, amazed by the inventive ideas that the teams shared.
Since the focus was on the students during their 10 minute presentations, judges held their questions for teams until the Judge Showcase. Each team went before the panel of judges later in the day and had 10 minutes to answer any questions they had from the presentations. This morning the top winner will be announced in each of the three categories and among the three teams selected, one team will be crowned the 2015 Imagine Cup winner on Friday.
About Imagine Cup
Founded in 2003, Microsoft Imagine Cup is a student technology program and competition. It serves as the cornerstone of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, providing opportunities for student technologists, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs. Teams of four students from all academic backgrounds collaborate as they develop a technology application, create a business plan, and determine what is needed to bring a concept to market.
How Imagine Cup Works
Original technology projects in Games, Innovation, and World Citizenship categories are competing for the top spot in their category and to be crowned the 2015 Imagine Cup winner. With so many innovative products, it’s hard to say who the winner might be! We sat in on a few of the student presentations yesterday and were truly impressed by the students’ professionalism, concepts, and ability to share how they could create a viable product for consumers. Here’s a peek at what we saw in each of the categories.
If you could create any game, what would it look like? What would the setting be and what tasks would your characters have to complete? Thinking about a game is easy. Creating one is far more difficult but this year nine teams are vying for the top spot in the Games category at the Imagine Cup. Their games have been vetted by others around the world to bring them to Seattle to compete in the Finals.
Here’s a look at four of the 9 games teams presented yesterday.
- Netherlands— Bounce ‘em up, a physics-based, over-the-top, competitive multiplayer game sounds like it could be the next Angry Birds but with a competitive twist.
- Poland— Bandbarian uses the Microsoft Band to monitor the users exercise which gets transferred to the game character’s experience to add a real world component to virtual play.
- Nepal— Team Octavian’s DYD is a first-person 3D game focused on stopping the poaching of endangered animals
- Tunisia— Back in Time by T2 is a 3D game developed using the Unity Game Engine for play on two screens where a parent and kid compete with each other using their individual devices and a Microsoft Band.
In the arena of Innovation, the work of teams from Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, France, Hungary, India, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palestine, England, and the United States demonstrates incredible thought leadership. Their world-changing software has the power to change the way we talk, play, work, and live by changing the way we use technology.
Here’s a look at just a few products shared by Imagine Cup Innovation Finalists:
- Brazil- From the very fashion forward Brazil comes eFit Fashion’s Clothes for Me, a marketplace for custom tailored clothes based on a person’s unique body shape and size.
- United States- Study Tree mobile app connects students and tutors within a university for in-person tutoring.
- England- Siymb is an inexpensive wearable that transforms the way people interact with each other during conferences and exhibitions. Through a simple handshake, participants will be able to exchange details about each other.
- Hungary— Mistory is a story-based, interactive city tour mobile application where users cn play a story and explore the city by utilizing the environment. I see this as a great way to engage young travelers through interactive multimedia that allows them to learn more about a city they’re visiting.
- New Zealand- Tether is a platform that legs you discover the talent in your social network. Whether it be make-up or repairs or photography, finding trustworthy and passionate people close to you for a causal job can be done instantly.
- Canada— Walkly is a mobile phone app that combines the power of social media and smartphone technology to empower users to feel more comfortable in the streets.
Founded with the idea that technology can make the world a better place, the competition is a contest for the best new software to address social issues. Projects solve real problems for real people by addressing an important social problem such as disease, natural disasters, civil rights, poverty, access to vital information, gender equality, etc.
Of the 12 finalists, here’s a look at 6 of the ideas from finalists in the World Citizenship competition:
- Cyprus- S.E.C.S is a hardware and software solution for controlling crop cultivation remotely and in real time
- Germany- encourage anonymously broadcasts signals for help, immediately informs everyone in the local area about nearby emergency situations, and helps users coordinate and work towards deescalating the situation
- Indonesia- Solidare Apps connects its donors with orphaned children across the globe to help improve their lives and ensure they don’t drop out of school
- Italy- HeartWatch uses a Microsoft Band to detect cardiac arrhythmias. It can even motify friends and family in case of serious cardic issues
- Mexico- Play S-Cool wants to help students in elementary school to learn in a better way and reduce child obesity through physical activities int heir classrooms with the use of Kinect to answer activities with questions of multiple answers created by their teachers.
- Singapore— Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT), Mozter serves as a mosquito monitoring platform that uses cloud-based technologies to assist mosquito control officers with national mosquito surveillance and control.
Yesterday was an inspiring day. Indeed the innovations by these student teams demonstrate thought leadership to solve problems using technology tools in innovative ways.
For more information about the Imagine Cup competition and to watch live broadcasts from this week’s competition, visit ImagineCup.com.
Emily and I are guests of Microsoft for the Imagine Cup. All opinions are our own. Images provided by Microsoft.