Four polytechnic students from Singapore did the nation proud with their outstanding performances at the 2015 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals! Held in Seattle, Washington from 27 to 31 July, the World Finals saw intense competition from the 33 finalist teams vying for the chance to be crowned as the 2015 Imagine Cup World Champion, as well as strong contention from the 55 Microsoft Student Partners vying for the inaugural Microsoft Student Partner of the Year Award.
Competing against 12 finalist teams from across the world in the World Citizenship Category, Team Mozter from Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Informatics and IT beat 10 other teams to win second place in the World Citizenship category, with the first prize being awarded to Team Virtual Dementia Experience from Australia.
The team, comprising Goi Jia Jian, Van Phuong Thanh and Kirk Yeo took home a cash prize of US$10,000, and gained valuable feedback by presenting their winning project to the participants at Microsoft’s TechReady Conference, a bi-annual worldwide conference for Microsoft employees. The team was also treated to a rare meeting with senior Microsoft executives and Dr Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi, an exclusive hands-on session with the Microsoft HoloLens, and participated in the setting of a Guinness World Record for the most number of people trained in computer programming within 8 hours.
Adding more cause for celebration was Jason Chee from Singapore Polytechnic, who was awarded the inaugural Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) of the Year Award at the worldwide Microsoft Student Partner Summit. The award is bestowed upon the most outstanding student partner, selected from 9,000 MSPs from around the world, who has exhibited advanced technical skills, and displayed excellence in terms of the quality of apps created and the events organised to reach students in their respective countries. Besides receiving the prestigious award, Jason also takes home a cash prize of US$2,000.
On the last day of the World Finals, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella encouraged the participants to “dream and impossible and make it possible”, adding that “what was started at this competition is only going to grow because of their passion, their dreams, their ability to take it forward and their ability to learn on the way.”
To cap off a victorious 2015 Imagine Cup World Finals for Singapore, here’s a look at our newly-crowned winners and their Imagine Cup journeys:
Team Mozter, Temasek Polytechnic
Won Second Place in the 2015 Imagine Cup World Finals, World Citizenship Category
Congratulations on your win! Can you share more about your winning project?
Our project, Mozter, is a platform which leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) and the power of cloud technologies to enhance national mosquito surveillance and control by automating the mosquito data collection process. This automation process also helps to produce meaningful datasets that empower environment control officers to monitor mosquito data and take timely control actions where needed. This speeds up the manual, time-consuming monitoring process which is currently being used.
How did you come up with the idea for Mozter?
The idea for the project came up while we were doing our Enterprise Solutions and Entrepreneurship module in school, which required us to come up with an innovative solution to solving an existing issue or problem. At that time, Singapore was experiencing one of the worst dengue epidemics in history. In addition, one of our classmates was admitted into the hospital and warded in the Intensive Care Unit for dengue fever. It was at that point that the gravity of the problem sunk in, and that spurred us to work on a solution to solve the problem.
What are some of the unique points about Mozter that can help improve lives?
Currently, mosquito control programmes generally take weeks to collect relevant data before it can be processed into meaningful information. One unique feature of Mozter is its ability to deploy relatively low-cost, low-maintenance sensors at various parts of Singapore to collect specific data about the mosquito species detected in these areas quickly and accurately. We believe that with an enhanced understanding of the mosquito situation on the ground, it will make it possible for mosquito control officers to identify mosquito hotspots more easily before an outbreak occurs.
How does it feel to win the second prize in the World Citizenship category at the 2015 Imagine Cup World Finals?
We are very happy to have our project recognised on the international stage. We’d never imagine that we would come this far and are grateful for all the people, especially our lecturers and partners, including the National Environment Agency of Singapore (NEA), the Environmental Health Institute (EHI) and Microsoft, who gave us invaluable support and advice to make this possible. We felt very privileged to be invited by the EHI, a public health laboratory of the NEA, to visit their live mosquito labs to test our newly-built mosquito sensors, which enabled us to improve upon the project to make it more user-friendly for control officers on the ground.
Jason Chee, Singapore Polytechnic
Won the Microsoft Student Partner of the Year Award 2015
Congratulations on your win! Can you share how did you become a Microsoft Student Partner?
I was a student developer participating in a Microsoft hackathon in 2012, when Microsoft Singapore approached me to become one of their student partners. I was recruited into the Microsoft Student Partner programme there and then, and have been working with the Developer Experience team on various projects since.
What advice would you give you an aspiring Microsoft Student Partner?
Generally, it is important to have some technical skills as a Microsoft Student Partner. You also need to know Microsoft technologies and services really well, in order to explain them convincingly to the people around you. I also find it extremely helpful to take feedback from the Microsoft team and the people I work with seriously, in order to be able to come up with good ideas for apps and events for students. My advice to you is – be brave and take initiative, but above all, be passionate, extremely passionate, about the technology that you love!
How do you feel after winning the first ever Microsoft Student Partner of the Year Award?
It was a pleasant surprise! I’m really honoured to be the first Microsoft Student Partner from Singapore to achieve this accolade, especially with so many other deserving ones from all over the world. It was super cool to receive the award from Corporate Vice President & Chief Evangelist Steven Guggenheimer himself too!
For more information on the Imagine Cup, please visit www.imaginecup.com