By Drew Robbins, Executive Officer, Commercial Software Engineering Lead, Microsoft Japan
The world’s largest student technology competition, the Imagine Cup, celebrated its 16th anniversary in Seattle last month. Out of 40,000 student competitors who registered across the world, the Imagine Cup came down to 49 teams from 33 countries competing in the World Finals.
The champion of the Imagine Cup 2018 was team smartARM from Canada who created a robotic hand prosthetic, using Microsoft Azure Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Cloud Storage, that uses a camera embedded in its palm to recognize objects and calculate the most appropriate grip for an object. As the victors, team smartARM wins a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, USD85,000 in cash and a USD50,000 Azure grant. Team iCry2Talk of Greece earned second place with a low-cost and non-invasive intelligent interface between infant and parent that translates in real-time the baby’s cry, and associates it with a specific physiological and psychological state, depicting the result in various ways.
This year, we’ve added special Imagine Cup awards of USD15,000 for three key areas: AI, big data and mixed reality. Team SochWare from Nepal, won the AI award for designing a solution to help farmers, and team DrugSafe from India won the big data award for their solution to validate genuine drugs, and team Pengram from the United States won the mixed reality award for enabling holographical teleportation.
I congratulate all teams who challenged the world finals. Their challenging spirit, passion for technology and desire to help people made them successful. We hope they will keep working on their projects.
For those who would like to change the world, make the world better with technology, please challenge next year! Microsoft will keep supporting students including Imagine Cup. We’re confident those students are symbolic of our hope for a better future built on technology.