First Hong Kong team to win the top prize at Imagine Cup since it started in 2003
May 20 2020, Hong Kong – Microsoft today announced Team Hollo from Hong Kong as the World Champion for 2020 Imagine Cup, who won the grand prize for their mental health companion web app leveraging Azure analytics and AI services to advance youth therapy practices. This is the first time in the 18-year history of the competition that a team from Hong Kong has won the top prize. Runner-up teams include Team Syrinx from Japan and Team Tremor Vision from the United States. Team Syrinx created a neck wearable EL (Electrolarynx) that restores the ability to speak for people who have lost their voices and Team Tremor Vision developed a web-based tool that enables physicians to detect early-onset Parkinson’s and quantitatively track patient progress.
Held at the Microsoft Build digital event, Team Hollo from Hong Kong won the Imagine Cup competition, awarding with USD100,000, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and USD50,000 in Azure grants.
“Mental health is a really significant problem faced by society around the world, affecting so many especially in 2020. We’re so excited to win the Imagine Cup World Championship because it will allow us to continue working on this innovative mental health platform and technology. Our journey has definitely reaffirmed our belief that going forward, this is something viable and has the potential to save lives,” said Team Hollo.
After meeting while pursuing individual interests at the University of Hong Kong, Cameron van Breda, Ajit Krishna Namakkal Raghavendran and Piyush Jha of Team Hollo brought a collaborative desire for social change focusing on young people and inequality to their project, combined with a passion for tech. Team Hollo noticed that mental health aid was not effectively reaching the younger generations in their communities and set out to provide a solution through their tool.
Hollo is a digital mental health companion and therapist, used to enhance practices by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and therapists through an AI chatbot. It leverages Big Data and AI to introduce youth to therapy and counseling practices through online gamified journaling and mindfulness activities. Data from the AI chatbots and journaling can then be collected to generate actionable findings. This scalable model aims to cut the heavy cost of mental health care for youth to make support more accessible and supplements existing self-help techniques and therapy practices.
“We’re always so impressed and humbled to see the projects these young developers have created, this year is no different! Their innovations aim to address issues in their communities and are focused on bringing the world together. With the competition moving into a virtual format for the very first time, it was inspiring to see how the teams came together to pitch their projects to the judges at Microsoft Build’s inaugural digital event,” said Jennifer Ritzinger, General Manager, Audience Evangelism, Microsoft.
Six finalist teams from Asia, EMEA and the Americas were selected to move forward to the World Championship, after advancing through hackathons, and online semifinals by presenting their innovations via Teams at virtual regional event in their respective regions.
The top three teams – Team Hollo, Team Syrinx and Team Tremor Vision – gave an in-depth presentation of their solutions, which were assessed for their diversity, originality, and innovative design.
This year’s online judging panel consisted of Microsoft executives and innovation experts with technology, diversity, and social change-centered experiences:
- Dwana Franklin-Davis, CEO of Reboot Representation, a tech innovator, and leader who has worked to empower underrepresented groups in technology
- The CyberCode Twins, America and Penelope Lopez, young innovators who have participated in tech competitions across the world and hope to introduce other students to opportunities in the field
- Brad Smith, President, Microsoft Corp, who leads work on a wide range of issues involving the intersection of technology and society, including ethics and AI, human rights, and environmental sustainability.
Watch the show to experience the moment when Team Hollo is crowned champion! Registration for the 2021 competition is also now open for students and young developers to sign up today! For more information on the competition and the participating teams, please visit the Microsoft blog.
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About Imagine Cup
Held annually since 2003, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition, affectionately known by participants as the “Olympics of student technology competitions”. This year’s Imagine Cup encouraged participants to “Dream it. Build it. Live it” in order to create applications that shape how individuals live, work and play and through their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology. For more information about Imagine Cup, please visit https://www.imaginecup.com/.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.