Team smartARM from Canada emerges victorious at Imagine Cup World Finals 2018

  • Team Mediated Ear from Japan takes third place
  • Asia Pacific fields the biggest regional contingent with eight teams
  • Honors for teams from India and Nepal

Redmond, WA. 26 July 2018 – Microsoft today announced the winners of the 16th annual Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition where students from around the globe team up to solve some of the world’s biggest problems with technology.

Team smartARM from Canada (pictured above) took home the top honors with their functional robotic prosthetic hand that is powered by Microsoft Azure. With the help of technologies such as machine learning and computer vision, the arm uses a camera embedded in its palm to recognize objects and calculate the most appropriate grip for an object. Based on machine learning, the more the model is used, the more accurate it becomes.

Besides winning US$85,000 cash prize and an Azure grant worth US$50,000, Team smartARM will also have a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured above on the left).

Coming in second place was Team iCry2Talk from Greece, whose project enables parents to decipher the message behind a baby’s crying in real-time. The low-cost, non-invasive intelligent technology associates the cries with specific pphysiological and psychological states, depicting the results in a text, image and voice message.

The Asia Pacific region had an exceptional showing this year, with Team Mediated Ear from Japan (pictured left) clinching third place in the world finals. Their project was a software for hearing-impaired individuals to focus on a specific speaker among a multitude of conversations. Mediated Ear can relay specific sounds in audio waveforms through deep learning.

This year, eight teams from the Asia Pacific region made it to the semi-finals, underscoring one of the largest representation from a single region at the competition.

Microsoft also added three special awards that represent the current state of digital transformation. The winners for the respective categories included two teams from the Asia Pacific region:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Team Sochware from Nepal, whose solution is designed to help farmers identify plant diseases, suggest mitigation strategies, connect with experts, and get updated with recent agriculture findings to ensure more successful harvests.
  • Big Data: Team DrugSafe from India, for their multi-layered holistic drug validation system using technologies built upon big data to inform users if specific drugs are safe for use.
  • Mixed Reality: Team Pengram from the United States with their AR/VR platform designed for engineers to be “teleported” into a workspace when required.

Each team received US$15,000 in cash and a US$30,000 Azure grant to help further their endeavors.

Celebrating 16 years of empowering students to create the world of tomorrow

This year, 49 teams from 33 countries, including 20 teams from the Asia Pacific region, were selected to travel to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, to showcase their ingenuity in leveraging the power of modern technology to solve some of the world’s pressing challenges. Prior to this, the student teams spent months developing their solutions, go-to-market plans and competing in National Finals.

“This year’s participants weren’t just developing unique and potentially game-changing technology experiences, but they are also actively sharpening the skills that will boost their success as developers, technologists and entrepreneurs for the next generation,” said Charlotte Yarkoni, Corporate Vice President, Growth and Ecosystems, Microsoft.

Held annually since 2003, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition, known affectionately by participants as the “Olympics of student technology competitions”. To date, nearly 1.8 million students from over 190 countries have engaged with the Imagine Cup program.

For more information about Imagine Cup, please visit

ALSO READ: Indian students win the Big Data award at Imagine Cup 2018 with their drug authentication app

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