Future Technology Leaders Go Head to Head

14 March 2012

2012 Microsoft Imagine
Cup finalists announced

Solving the world’s
toughest problems with technology has inspired 19 student
teams to battle it out to take the 2012 Microsoft Imagine
Cup title.

The top 19 teams have been announced to
compete for the supreme spot, with the winning team going on
to represent New Zealand at the Worldwide Finals in Sydney
in July.

“As always, it was difficult to whittle
down the submissions we received to just 19 teams – there
were so many innovative, high quality entries to choose
from,” says Scott Wylie, Director of Developer and
Platform Group for Microsoft New Zealand.

“It is
great to see the future leaders in technology and science
step up to the challenge we have set them, of solving the
world’s toughest problems. There are so many talented,
creative students out there, which makes it much harder each
year to pick just one winner.”

The 19 teams were
chosen from the 400 submissions from university and
polytechnic students around the country.

The
Microsoft Imagine Cup is designed to challenge students to
develop technology to solve some of the world’s toughest
problems by applying their imagination, passion and
creativity to technology innovations to help make a
difference in the world. The Microsoft Imagine Cup is in its
tenth year, and is a truly global competition. Last year
more than 358,000 students from 183 countries participated
in the competition. For New Zealand, the 2011 competition
was the most successful one to date – with more than 300
team entries and 1,500 competitors
.
“It is a great
pleasure and privilege to be able to mentor 2RTF throughout
the competition as they develop their ideas, and work on
presentations and marketing plans in preparation for
presenting to industry experts,” says Kerry Topp, General
Manager – Microsoft Enterprise Mid-Market Solutions at
Datacom who has mentored teams for the past two years.

“Microsoft has enabled these students to really think
outside the square and focus their talents on something that
could make a difference to the world – and could also lead
to positive career prospects. The competition opens doors
for all the students and offers them opportunities in a way
that no other programme can. It is also good to get students
focused on helping those less fortunate than
themselves.”

Each team will present to a panel of
four judges on Sunday 29 April at the University of Auckland
to determine the final four teams. These final four will be
announced at the Imagine Cup Festival on Monday 30 April at
the Auckland Town Hall, and will present to a panel of
industry experts before the winning team is announced that
evening.

The top 19 teams for the Imagine Cup
2012 are:
Team MATx from Lincoln
University
– Kinect Rehabilitator
Using
Microsoft Kinect technology can help medical
centres/physiotherapist and individuals during post-stroke
rehabilitation, saving more lives. It can help keep patients
fit, active and feeling lively. This will lead to a
reduction of rehab session costs, flexibility of times,
reduce added injuries during transportation, allow for live
chat access to medical assistance anytime and the ability to
monitor of patient progress, as well as making rehab
sessions more fun. In addition, it could be as a networking
tool for people suffering from stroke to share their
experiences.

Team 2RTF from the
University of Auckland
– SAS
This project aims
to optimise aid distribution in disaster stricken areas. The
programme is supplied with information on aid distribution,
supplies, infrastructure and population density levels, and
will compute where aid needs to be and where it isn’t
needed. In addition, it can also be used to deploy aid on a
case by case basis.

Team United
from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

World United
Project Silver Bullet aims to indirectly
reduce poverty by tackling unemployment through streamlining
current governmental and loan or microcredit initiatives
using a single software product. It also aims to support and
foster a sense of empowerment among employment hunters to
ensure that the work cycle is sustainable and eventually
evolves into a self-driven machine. We are also working on a
unique algorithm that predicts if a person would be
successful in any chosen business.


Team Dawn Phenomena from Unitech – Mission
Diabetes
We are creating an educational diabetes system
that is targeted at children aged 7-14, in particular those
with type 1 or 2 diabetes. The system will be used to
educate children, particularly newly diagnosed children,
about all things related to the condition and how they can
go about living a long and fruitful life with the condition.
All the components of our solution will be based on
exploiting interactive features of computer games to deliver
educational knowledge through immersive and situational
learning. The system consists of three major components –
a video game, a mobile phone application and a web
application.

Team BackUp from the
University of Auckland
– InVestMe
Back pain
affects at least 80 percent of all people at some point in
their lives and is easily preventable with good posture.
However, a sedentary lifestyle coupled with increasing
computer use for work and entertainment and little
motivation to maintain posture means that this problem can
become severely debilitating for chronic sufferers. National
back pain payout costs are over $500 million p.a. Our idea
is a simple, lightweight vest/singlet to be worn by all-aged
members of the population. This senses the spine’s alignment
in 3D and relays this to a smartphone, which then signals an
alert if poor posture is maintained for a length of time.
This is also used to update pain specialists’ medical
records electronically and as a research tool to give
insight into common postural problems across particular
subsets of the population.


Team Get Lost from the University of Auckland
– Get lost – wireless leash proposal
Our ‘find me’
smartphone application communicates with a wireless
transmitter that can be worn by a child to allow parents to
monitor where they are at all times. This application makes
it easy for parents to find lost children and can be also
used as a tool to prevent losing children.


Team Dunyati from the University of Auckland
– Coffee2Go
We are dedicated to getting farmers in
third world countries a fair price for their coffee. Our
idea utilises cheap technology that is both effective and
easily deployed. We aim to partner with fair-trade as well
as a few other NPO’s and utilise pre-built infrastructure to
help us attain our goals. Phase two of our plan is to setup
micro-lending to African farmers that will be paid back once
they harvest their crops, ensuring a higher quality crop and
a higher quality of life for the farmers.


Team Zooks from the University of Otago
Change for Charity
Charities do great things, but the sad
fact is the majority of these organisations need to raise
funds to allow them to carry on doing what they do.
‘Change for Charity’ is a service that provides revenue
gathering for charities and distributes collected donations
allowing charities to provide feedback to users where their
donations are spent. The way the revenue is collected is by
a piece of software that is installed on store payment
systems that with the user’s agreement rounds their
purchase up to the nearest 10cents and then donates the
rounding to a charity. Feedback to contributors would be
sent back to them to their mobiles letting them know what
difference their contribution has provided.


Team Vcom from Victoria University of
Wellington
– Language Translator
Replacing the
traditional way of communicating between the UNICEF
authorities and victims, by a translator that translates the
vocal English to the respective local language. The project
will be based on a hand held device for translating language
verbally.

Team Cloud Solutions
from Victoria University of Wellington
– Cloud
Save
Tsunami’s are one of the world’s largest natural
disasters, one that cannot be averted. Over the last few
years prediction systems have been built to predict tsunamis
but due to lack of processing power they have been unable to
really make a difference. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes to
get a prediction of a tsunami’s details like direction,
height, etc. This time can be reduced to staggering 20 to 30
seconds which could save thousands of lives. This can be
achieved by offloading this compute intensive workload to
the Windows Azure Cloud.

Team
Decarbonators from Unitech
– Carbon Footprint
Indicator (C.F.I) – a Mobile Phone Application
We are
developing a creative technology solution that addresses a
real-world challenge to help alleviate climate change and
pollution problems caused by carbon emission. CFI can be
installed on an individual’s mobile phone with pre-set
profiles to choose from, enabling every individual to get an
estimate of their Carbon Footprint while they commute to
work etc. by different means of transport. Our system will
award users with DeCarbon Points e.g. earn more snapper
points every X times they make use of a public transport
instead of driving or while they do carpooling etc. DeCarbon
points can be used to claim discounts on food or at any
other commercial organisations that are tied up with CFI.

Team Silver Pass from the
University of Auckland
– School
reporting
Traditionally in schools the only mechanisms in
place for information transfer are the report cards and
infrequent parent-teacher interviews. For a relationship as
important as the one between student, parent and teacher,
this is simply insufficient, and good education is being
compromised. Our solution replaces the traditional report
with much more frequent, shorter updates throughout the
year, both keeping parents involved and spreading out
teacher workload. This would be done through a cloud based
computer system that also facilitates parental discussion
and learning suggestions. We hope this will improve the
quality of both education and life of primary school
children.

Team D.E.S from the
University of Auckland
– Improving Mental Health
Recovery
Disability Employment Service (DES) is an
online information system allowing the health industry to
allocate employment opportunities to competent individuals
who are recovering from a mental illness or a disability.
The DES website can provide a networking system between
businesses and health departments and will facilitate the
sharing of information such as work performance and recovery
process of the employed.

Team
Doctor Pepper from the University of Otago
– River
Pollution NZ
Our project is a tool for aid agencies to
allocate resources to provide quality water all over the
world where it is most needed. We will do this by creating a
phone app which allows agencies to input information about
water quality and ask for resources at their current
location. This Information will be stored in a database and
accessible by a website.

Team
YouMark from Auckland University of Technology

YouMark – Transform Education
Team YouMark seek to
revolutionise the current education system by bringing the
classroom experience into the home of millions, focusing on
self-paced learning. The tools being developed by Team
YouMark will enable creation off next generation interactive
content with teacher collaboration.


Team Mobile Eye from Auckland University of
Technology
– Mobye
Visual impairment is a
significant health problem across the globe. Every 5 seconds
one person in the world goes blind. Although 80 percent of
visual impairment is preventable, for the 45 million blind
people across the globe, prevention is no longer the cure.
In New Zealand, the number of blind people is projected to
grow from 12,000 today, to as much as 18,000 in 2020. Vision
loss robs people of their well-being and presents a
significant economic cost.
We have developed software
designed to provide assistance to blind New Zealanders. The
application, MobileEye, is designed to provide the user with
an added richness of information. It can take on a multitude
of uses simply based on the needs of the user. It is the
team’s intention that this technology will assist the
individual in the areas of navigation, shopping and even
simple day to day activities that can benefit from a greater
awareness of surroundings.

Team
Connect from the University of Auckland

Transparent Communication Network (TCN)
Christchurch
earthquake, Japan tsunami, Thailand flooding. 2011 was known
as the year of disasters – what do they have in common?
Immediate communication failure.
If you’re in a
disaster zone, the first thing you’ll want to do is
connect with loved ones; and that goes for everyone else
around you. High traffic causes massive congestion to any
remaining cell towers and telcos often struggle to keep
communication up and running for days, or even weeks. As the
first 72 hours are crucial, any downtime can be
catastrophic.
We are developing a communication system
that, unlike traditional solutions, will respond immediately
in the critical hours following a disaster. Our solution
will keep you connected to loved ones when you need them the
most.

Team Aura from the
University of Auckland
– A non-invasive Infrared
Imaging solution to detect abnormalities in breathing

Team Aura is set to revolutionise the diagnosis of
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA affects 1.2 billion
people worldwide, and an Aura module consists of an advanced
algorithm that detects breathing patterns of a patient
through innovative monitoring technology. This information
can then be easily accessed by medical professionals and
patients alike through the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform,
allowing the improved efficient diagnosis of OSA.

Team Thought-Wired from the University
of Auckland
– NOUS
Thought-Wired NOUS is an
integrated solution designed to restore abilities to those
who lack them. Its primary function is to empower
individuals with severe physical disabilities in
communication and interaction capacities. It allows people
who are unable to speak to communicate with anybody using
the mind alone. Using NOUS individuals with disabilities can
communicate with their family and friends offline in their
place of residence or anywhere else as well as online over
the Internet. Besides communication, NOUS opens unlimited
possibilities for our users via extensible platform
Additional capabilities can be anything from controlling
simple devices at home to education, mobility and
entertainment applications.

###

Visit www.imaginecup.co.nz for news and
information.
Follow the latest on Twitter at www.twitter.com/icnz and become part of
the Imagine Cup community on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/microsoftnzstudents

About
Microsoft:

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services
and solutions that help people and businesses realise their
full potential.
ENDS

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