7 young innovators from Singapore advance to Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals

 |   Singapore News Center

SINGAPORE, June 5, 2013 — Microsoft today announced that two teams from Singapore will travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, in July to compete in the 11th annual Imagine Cup World Finals. They will pit their innovation and creativity against 305 other students from 69 countries in pursuit of US$1,000,000 in cash prizes and other awards.

Team EyeCanSee from Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) will represent Singapore at the Imagine Cup World Finals this year in the Innovation Competition category, a new category created to celebrate the wider world of student innovations. Comprising students from NYP’s School of Information Technology, Team EyeCanSee created an application called Kinect Infantry Training System (KITS) that aims to help soldiers habituate and perfect their shooting posture, leading to higher accuracy attained during live firing, as well as to shorten the training time required to get a soldier ready for his or her first live range. KITS makes use of the Skeletal recognition on the Kinect and sensors in Windows Phone to analyze and give feedback on a soldier’s shooting posture and breathing techniques. This entire package runs on Windows 8 and makes use of advanced macro programming in Microsoft Office Excel 2013 to generate visual analytics of an individual soldier’s performance.

“As most armies are based on conscription, instructors come and go frequently. This causes possible training gaps in terms of consistency and weakens the entire force due to differing standards. With KITS, we are able to provide a consistent training platform in the area of marksmanship to allow soldiers to hone their shooting skills quickly and effectively, with less manpower required,” said Joshua Tan Jun Ming, team member of Team EyeCanSee.

Team vSoft Studio from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will also be representing Singapore in the Imagine Cup’s Windows Phone Challenge with their app, Speak Reminder. Although seemingly a simple app, Speak Reminder features a thoughtful design that helps users create reminders on their Windows Phone through the Speech Recognition API, and features unique Live Tile and Lock Screen integration. As one of the top three teams in the Windows Phone Challenge, Team vSoft Studio will definitely be going home with a prize and will be vying from first-, second- or third-place awards in Russia.

“Smartphones were born to make our lives easier, so it should not make simple tasks complicated. Speak Reminder aims to help people to replace their sticky notes by their mobile devices with all the convenient of modern smartphones and cloud service,” said Nguyen Quy Hy, team member of Team vSoft Studio.

From student projects to real-world businesses
Each team’s innovative ideas, mastery of integrated technology and development of a strong business plan helped them compete in their country during the past year, then rise above their peers for the opportunity to represent their country at Microsoft’s annual global student technology competition. Imagine Cup is part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative to create opportunities for millions of young people around the world.

More students competed in Imagine Cup worldwide this year than ever before, with a more than 70 percent increase from 2012. The best projects advanced to country-level competitions that determined the national teams, while additional teams advanced via a global online competition. Students could compete via Competitions as well as themed Challenges. Competitions are cornerstone events for Imagine Cup that require students to complete applications built on Microsoft technology aligned to three key focus areas: Innovation, World Citizenship and Games.

Challenges provide an opportunity for students to participate in Imagine Cup by learning, prototyping and creating applications using the newest Microsoft technologies. They occur online only, and the top three teams in each category will attend the World Finals to compete for first-, second- or third-place awards.

Challenge categories include the Windows Azure Challenge, Windows Phone Challenge and Windows 8 App Challenge.

“For more than a decade, Imagine Cup has cultivated entrepreneurship in students and has provided them with a vehicle to bring their creativity to life through apps, software platforms and social networks,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist at Microsoft. “Participating in initiatives such as Imagine Cup, DreamSpark and BizSpark gives students skills to transition from the classroom to the professional world as business owners, programmers, game designers and entrepreneurs.”

Imagine Cup welcomes Matt Smith
In addition to the 86 teams attending this year’s final event in Russia, Microsoft is pleased to announce that Matt Smith, who plays the intelligent and witty iconic time traveler on the BBC, will join Imagine Cup students onstage as host of the Worldwide Finals awards ceremony, which will be streamed live online worldwide July 11.

Each year, Imagine Cup is dedicated to showing the world how young people can rise from anywhere and shine a brilliant light on the future. This year Matt Smith will be there with Microsoft to infuse that light.

Sponsored awards
Students will compete at the World Finals for first, second and third place in six competition categories, as well as awards presented by Imagine Cup sponsors.

  • AppCampus Award. All teams with a Windows Phone project are eligible to apply for this award with a prize of 50,000 euros in funding, airfare and accommodations to attend a four-week AppCampus training event in Finland.
  • DreamSpark Learning Award. Teams that developed a project showcasing how software creates new ways of learning and/or teaching are invited to apply for the $5,000 grand prize award.
  • Facebook Creativity Award. Worldwide Finalists that integrate Facebook Login into their apps to grow distribution and increase engagement will be eligible for the grand prize of $25,000 in Facebook advertising credits.
  • KFC Russia Award. Worldwide finalist teams with Kinect for Xbox 360 projects related to youth culture, healthy lifestyles or nutrition will be eligible to win the $10,000 prize and have their project featured at the KFC flagship restaurant in Moscow.
  • Mail.Ru Group Connected Planet Award. Projects that embrace online communications and entertainment in fun, useful and innovative ways are eligible for these prizes: first place, $10,000; second place, $5,000; and third place, $3,000.
  • Women’s Empowerment Award. Presented in partnership with UN Women, this award will be given to teams that create technology solutions that empower women to improve their lives. The first-place prize is $12,000 and second place is $8,000.

Worldwide Finalists with projects focused on social good also have the chance to apply for Microsoft Imagine Cup Grants, part of a $3 million investment by Microsoft through its YouthSpark initiative to help students turn their ideas for social good into reality.

Industry experts set to judge at World Finals
This year Imagine Cup has judges representing both a breadth of experience and a depth of expertise in innovation, technology development, gaming and other key areas. Those coming to Russia to judge the final projects include Catherine Bracy from Code For America; Simon Lu from Twitter; Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of “Tetris”; and many others.

For a full list of all judges and more information on the Imagine Cup, please visit www.imaginecup.com.


About Microsoft Imagine Cup
Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier technology program and competition for students to learn, build and compete with innovative tools, platform and services. This is the 11th year of Imagine Cup, part of Microsoft YouthSpark, which will be celebrated at the World Finals in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 8–11. Students are eligible to register and compete in Imagine Cup by visiting http://www.imaginecup.com. A full list of competition categories is available at http://imaginecup.com/main/compete.

About Microsoft YouthSpark
Microsoft YouthSpark is a global initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries during the next three years. This companywide initiative includes Citizenship and other company programs — both new and enhanced — that empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Find out more at http://www.microsoft.com/youthspark.

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

Additional information:

Imagine Cup 2013 Singapore representatives:

Team EyeCanSee
Institution: Nanyang Polytechnic
Team members: Joshua Tan Jun Ming, Chan Meng Wah, Goh Jing Loon, Yip Mun Kit Bernard
Summary: Team EyeCanSee developed a Kinect-based tracking system that aims to help soldiers habituate and perfect their shooting posture, leading to higher accuracy attained during live firing, as well as to shorten the training time required to get a soldier ready for his or her first live range. The solution, codenamed the Kinect Infantry Training System (or KITS for short) runs on the Windows 8 platform and also makes use of advanced macro programming in Office 2013 to generate visual analytics, which will serve as a platform for commanders and soldiers to better understand their individual progress. Apart from the military environment, KITS can also be deployed commercial shooting ranges, schools and sports clubs.
Imagine Cup profile: http://www.imaginecup.com/ic13/team/eyecansee

Team vSoft Studio
Institution: Nanyang Technological University
Team members: Minh Quoc Huy Cao, Quyen Tran Nguyen Tu, Hy Nguyen Quy
Summary: Speak Reminder is a simple app that provides a fast way to create a reminder using speech control. Fully exploiting the Windows Phone 8 Speech Recognition API, Speak Reminder provides various speech commands such as “remind me in 5 minutes”, “remind me every weekday at 10 AM”, etc., therefore creating a reminder has never been easier and faster, even without network connection. Moreover, the reminders can be synchronized to the cloud for backup and share across the phones and tablets.
Imagine Cup profile: http://www.imaginecup.com/ic13/team/vsoftstudio

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