SEATTLE, Washington (PC Tech Magazine) – Two medical students from Australia won Microsoft’s Imagine Cup global student technology competition this morning, prevailing over teams from around the world with Eyenaemia, their app for screening for anemia by taking a picture of the eye.
Africa, with three teams at this year’s competition wasn’t quite lucky as only Egypt’s Illogic Windows Phone game made it as a Games Category 2nd Runner Up.
Uganda, category winners two years ago faced a steep challenge from Australian’s Eyenaemia, the eventual overall winners. The had developed mDex, a mobile sickle cell diagnosis tool, made up of a mobile app and an external compound lens, that allows for a quick, easy and affordable diagnosis, by using computer vision and pattern recognition.
Eyenaemia is a simple, non-invasice and easily accessible screening tool for anaemia made for use by everyday people. It examines the conjutiva and calculates the risk of anaemia by analyzing a photo of the eye, putting years of medical training into the hands of an untrained/first-time user.
— MicrosoftCitizenship (@msftcitizenship) August 1, 2014
Apart from producing an innovative app, the team of Jarrel Seah and Jennifer Tang didn’t hurt their chances by making a none-to-subtle reference to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s favorite phrase — talking about the “mobile first, cloud first world” — during the on-stage Q&A with Nadella and two other judges. After the category winners had been announced, the winners faced-off with a panel of three judges, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Reddit.com General Manager Erik Martin and Code.org founder Hadi Partovi for a final screening session in a fully parked Washington State Convention Center.
In addition to a $50,000 prize for winning the World Citizenship category, the team won a private meeting with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for winning the Imagine Cup. Gates sent a video message in which he praised participants for being able to see things in ways “the rest of use don’t see”.
“The greatest thing about young innovators is that they see things the rest of us don’t,” said Bill Gates in a video message that drew a rousing applause.
Current CEO Nadellaappeared to agree with him.
“The thing that excites me is that we live in a time when we can imagine the impossible and make it probable. It’s great to see each one of you compete with a spirit that’s going to make each one of us better,” he said.
The finals in Seattle capped months of work by tens of thousands of student teams in the annual event. For the first time this year, Microsoft had the winners in each of the three main Imagine Cup categories pitch a panel of judges on stage for the Imagine Cup.
The winning team in the Innovation category, Estimeet from New Zealand, created an app that estimates the distance of friends from a meeting place, and their estimated time of arrival — inspired by the tradition of showing up late for a meetup or party.
Most of the projects this year were based on Windows technologies including Windows Phone and Microsoft Azure. If they continue their projects, the next steps for many of the teams will include broadening their reach by expanding to additional mobile platforms.
In the Games category, the winner was Brainy Studios from Russia, which developed a game called TurnOn, about a living electrical spark — delivering an underlying message about energy conservation.
COMPETITION WINNERS (PER CATEGORY)
Winner: Eyenaemia, Australia
1st Runner Up: Smart Crew, Taiwan – Usens is a cloud-powered, wearable full body motion detection system for stroke e-rehabilitation. Motion signals are measured by a wearable device and then downloaded to a PC. Patients are then able to upload their rehabilitation information to a cloud service, providing clinical spacialists with the vital data required to diagnose and continuously evaluate their rehabilitation.
2nd Runner Up: Access Earth, Ireland – Solution that provides users who are impaired by mobility to navigate through areas of the any city.
Winner: Brainy Studio, Russia
1st Runner Up: Bomon, Korea – In the Windows Phone game, Under Bed, gamers explore the “Dust Kingdom,” moving dust around and overcoming obstacles using static electricity. Playing as a character, Judy, gamers rub socks on her hands to generate static electricity.
2nd Runner Up: Illogic, Egypt – Pupple in Bubble Windows Phone physics puzzle game where players control Spout, a naughty puppy that likes disappearing from his owner. Using fans and flippers, players manouver Spout in a bubble around a room to collect all the dog treats.
Winner: Estimeet, New Zealand
1st Runner Up: Tep, Hungary – Tep is a fitness and entertainment application that uses expanded tracking software linked to a tamagotchi to motivate users to play sports and exercise.
2nd Runner Up: Team Butterfly, Bahrain – Nail Polish Mixer combines hardware and software to control a new machine to creates custom nail polish colors in less than 50seconds. The user can choose from color swatches or specify their own custom color and then select a glossy, matte or glitter finish.
Report by Albert Mucunguzi