Imagine Cup 2010 World Finals Winner Profiles

WARSAW, Poland – July 8, 2010 – At today’s Imagine Cup Festival and Awards Ceremony, five teams were named winners of the Microsoft-sponsored event challenging students to use technology to solve the world’s toughest problems. More than 325,000 students entered in this eighth year of the competition. More than 400 students participated in the final round of the event where the teams below came out on top.

Thailand Team Wins Software Design Award with Project to Help Hearing Impaired

Team Skeek of Thailand took home first place in software design, winning $25,000 in the competition’s preeminent category.

When S. Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, called the team onstage to hoist the Imagine Cup trophy, they were stunned.

The team’s project, eyeFeel, aims to help the hearing impaired communicate in the classroom. The software 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 deaf. The team said its goal was to encourage more people with hearing difficulties to enter regular schools and universities.

“We have a dream that all students will be equal in the classroom,” said team member Pichai Sodsai. “That’s why we built eyeFeel.

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. But in the meantime they will soak up their win at the Imagine Cup 2010 Worldwide Finals.

“This is way beyond our expectations,” Sodsai said. “We’re so happy.”

Summary Facts:

  • Category: Software Design

  • Team name: Skeek

  • Team members: Kirthee Siristh, Pichai Sodsai, Thanasunn Dilokpinitnun, Nonthawat Srichad

  • School: Kasetsart University

  • Country: Thailand

  • Prize: $25,000

Taiwan Team Wins Embedded Development Competition with Energy-Saving Electric Meter

The winning team in the Embedded Development category wants to help consumers keep an eye on power-hungry appliances.

Team SmarterME from Taiwan developed its Smarter Meter project after one of its members received a sky-high electricity bill, says Yi-Sheng Lai, a student at National Chiao Tung University. “After that, we were always trying to reduce our power consumption,” he says. “We realized having a single meter would help track a power footprint. That’s how we came up with the idea for the Smarter Meter.”

Smarter Meter provides detailed power consumption information to users. At a glance, homeowners can see what appliances are responsible for the bulk of their electricity use, which team members say will help people reduce their energy use and save money.

Team SmarterME plans to continue refining their project. Right now, SmarterME is being targeted to the average family, but the team will create a version that can monitor buildings as large as an office tower.

Summary Facts:

  • Category: Embedded Development

  • Team name: SmarterME

  • Team members: Yung-Chi Chen, Yi-Sheng Lai, Ming-Chun Lin

  • School: National Chiao Tung University,

  • Country: Taiwan

  • Prize: $25,000

Team From Philippines Wins in Game Design

For Team By Implication from the Philippines, winning the Imagine Cup’s Game Design competition is the first step in spreading a Wildfire.

Wildfire is a video game about saving the world through social action and volunteerism, says Philip Cheang, a student at Ateneo de Manila University. In the game, players take on some of the biggest enemies out there – rampant poverty, gender inequality and environmental degradation. The message behind the game is that these scourges can be defeated.

Team members say the inspiration for Wildfire came in the wake of Typhoon Ketsana, which wreaked havoc on the Philippines in 2009. After the typhoon, Filipinos responded with a huge wave of volunteerism, Cheang says. The team was inspired to create a game that showed the amazing things people can do when they work together.

Cheang says that competing at the Imagine Cup and having people try Wildfire was a wonderful experience. The team believes strongly in their game and their idea, he adds, and will continue to create fun video games that encouraged social action.”

“We love game design and want to pursue it seriously,” Cheang says. “I think winning it all is a good sign we’re on the right path.”

Summary Facts:

  • Category: Game Design

  • Team name: By Implication

  • Team members: Philip Cheang, Wilhansen Li, Rodrick Tan, Levi Tan-Ong

  • School: Ateneo de Manila University

  • Country: Philippines

  • Prize: $25,000

One-Man Team From China Wins IT Challenge Prize

A student from China took first place and an $8,000 prize in the IT Challenge category.

Weiqiu Wen, of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, received his check from Walid Abu-Hadba, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) group. Afterwards, Wen said he was thrilled with the win.

Wen competed in the IT Challenge last year, calling it his favorite category at the Imagine Cup. “I like this competition because it’s very challenging,” Wen says. “I have an interest in how to come up with better solutions and design better IT systems.”

The IT Challenge calls on competitors to develop, deploy and and maintain their own IT systems. This year’s competition asked participants to come up with a system that kept power consumption to a minimum.

Wen says he will continue to focus on building more efficient and robust IT systems after the Imagine Cup is over. He will study for two more years at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Summary Facts:

  • Category: IT Challenge

  • Team member: Weiqiu Wen

  • School: Huazhong University of Science and Technology

  • Country: China

  • Prize: $8,000

Team From Taiwan Wins Digital Media Award After 30 Straight Hours of Film Making

Two students from Taiwan captured first place in the Digital Media category.

Team Mirror Vita won $8,000 with their project “For Kids in the Future.” Filmed and edited over a 30-hour period, the animated short video tells children that they have the power to change the world, says Ching-Cheng Su, a student at National Taipei University of Technology.

“This competition is all about solving the world’s toughest challenges,” Su says. “We think children are the ones who will solve them with their creativity and imagination. We want to tell them, ‘Don’t be afraid to use your imagination.’”

The pair say they will keep making films together, but Team Mirror Vita will go on hiatus for a year while Su studies in the United States at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Summary Facts:

  • Category: Digital Media

  • Team name: Mirror Vita

  • Team members: Ching-Cheng Su, Yun-Lun Su

  • School: National Taipei University of Technology

  • Country: Taiwan

  • Prize: $8,000

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