Romanian team ENTy take home the World Champion award
Don Grantham, President, Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe
Last week a group of the world’s brightest students took the stage at our headquarters in Redmond, Washington for the final of Imagine Cup, a worldwide competition Microsoft first established 13 years ago. More than 100 students presented their ideas to a panel of expert judges, in a bid for the top prize of $50,000 and a unique, private mentoring session with Satya Nadella. Prizes aside, these students were there to prove how their technology can change the world.
We are incredibly proud that this year’s World Champion team is from Romania. Three computer science students from the University Politehnica of Bucharest were crowned World Champions and were awarded first place in the Innovation category with project ENTy, a medical wearable device the size of a door key that tracks patients’ balance to help doctors diagnose balance disorders caused by problems in the inner ear. Already medically tested by several doctors and hundreds of patients, ENTy improves the accuracy of ear-nose-throat diagnoses so patients can get the treatment they need, more quickly. The team are also planning a consumer-friendly version of the device, which can be used by anyone looking to monitor their posture.
Two other European winning teams came from the region – Greece and Hungary. The team from Greece also secured first place in the World Citizenship category with their project AMANDA, a gamified virtual reality solution for bullying detection and intervention. InSimu, the project from Hungary, uses virtual reality to help medical students practice diagnostic procedures on simulated patients, and won third place in the World Citizenship category. All these projects are great examples of the creativity, passion for technology and entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in Europe’s technology scene.
Imagine Cup is unique in that it challenges students to use technology in creative ways to tackle some of society’s toughest problems including poverty and an aging population. Twelve of the final thirty-five teams came from European countries this year, with a range of innovative ideas from improving diagnoses for balance disorders, to teaching elementary physics through video games, and making technology more accessible to all.
Platforms like the Imagine Cup are vital to supporting students develop their initial spark into a fully-fledged project, while also cultivating the skills crucial to their careers. These experiences empower the young generation to think creatively, while honing essential problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that are important for their future.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs have used the Imagine Cup as the first step in founding their business. One success story is Nimero – after winning the Imagine Cup local finals in 2009, Nimero’s education system, Envision, is now used by more than 20,000 students in approximately 220 schools around the world.
As technology has become an integral part of our daily lives around the world, we’re seeing a growing demand from students, parents, teachers, governments, and non-profits to teach young people not just how to use technology, but also how to create the technology that will help them become the innovators and drivers of growth in their communities. An Imagine Cup project like ENTy or Nimero can pave the way for new businesses that can digitally transform industries like healthcare and education, while also providing jobs, boosting the local economy, and inspiring the next generation of technology entrepreneurs.
Over the past thirteen years, Imagine Cup has served to inspire, encourage and support the youth across Europe and in CEE. When I see the track record of many of these entrepreneurial teams, who have gone on to create companies or become leaders in their countries, I know the future is in good hands. I am certain this year’s Imagine Cup teams will have that same focus and drive for impact as they begin the exciting next steps in their journeys.
Find out more about the winning projects this year at the Imagine Cup website here.