July, 2012

  • Imagine Cup People’s Choice Award 2012

    The Microsoft Imagine Cup brings together students from all over the world and asks them to use their creativity and passion for technology to help solve the world’s toughest problems. This year is the 10th anniversary of Imagine Cup and over this period, we have more than 1.65M students from 194 countries who have participated. The 10th Worldwide Finals will be held in Sydney, Australia from July 6-10 and more than 350 finalists from 75 countries will be competing for the top prizes.

     

    Beginning today, people around the world will have the opportunity to get involved in the excitement through the Imagine Cup People’s Choice Award, and we want to ask for your help.

    Please go to the People’s Choice Award site and vote – and then ask your friends, family and network to vote. The more people learn about this, meet the students, and see the projects, the more they see how innovative our technologies are and how they can be used to truly change the world.

    Here are some of the examples of our technologies in action through Imagine Cup: 

    •   Metro is in: Even with limited availability, 20% of all student projects are using Windows 8 driving early adoption.
    •   Head in the clouds: Nearly half of all finalist projects are using Windows Azure in their projects – from tracking pollution levels in the environment to diagnosing diseases.
    •   Natural User Interface rules: 66% of education focused projects made education more interactive with Kinect.
    •   It’s not just the phone that’s smartWindows Phone7 is the most commonly used technology with 62% of all finalist teams (54 total) creating WP7-based solutions to address challenges such as providing healthcare tools and resources for people in remote areas across the globe.
    •   Technology is for everyone:  20% of the worldwide finalists are women with three all-women teams competing in the Software Design category.

    The People’s Choice Award is just one component of several competitions and prizes at the Imagine Cup. From creating apps on devices to building Web sites and Kinect solutions, students are truly helping to change the world with Microsoft technologies. Please take advantage of YOUR opportunity to support these students to realize their full potential, helping them grow academically, start companies that thrive, and have an impact in their communities and around the globe.

    Voting ends 9 July.

    Thank you!

    Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International

  • Which World Problem would You Tackle with Technology?

    In this world of ours, millions lack access to things many of us take for granted like safe drinking water and a quality education. Millions more die every year from preventable diseases. Problems are everywhere. Pick one that you think needs solving.

    Microsoft Australia is promoting ‘Food for Thought’, which aims to get the general public to take a moment and think about the world’s toughest problems – problems that the students in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup are tackling with technology. This month over 450 students from 107 countries will compete for the Imagine Cup World Wide title in Sydney.

    Food for Thought is a great initiative where Microsoft is engaging the public to ask, “If you could solve one of the world’s social issues through technology, what would it be?" For every idea submitted in writing or on Twitter during the promotion Microsoft is donating $1 to Foodbank on the participant’s behalf – providing meals to Australian families in need. Plus, they will be rewarded with a yummy treat which has been sourced from the market.

    Foodbank is a non-profit organisation that acts as a pantry to over 2,500 charities, community groups and schools that provide food relief to disadvantaged Australians. As the largest hunger relief organisation in the country, Foodbank distributes over 88,000 meals each day. Just $1 can provide 2 meals.

    Anna Howarth, Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Australia, volunteered at Paddington markets last Saturday, and was amazed by the participation. “The response from the public was overwhelmingly positive. They were really engaged and wanted to understand what the Imagine Cup was all about.”

    Imagine Cup student participants were also at the Food for Thought stalls talking about the solutions they had built for the competition with technology such as Xbox-Kinect and apps for Windows Phone.

    The thoughts collected during the Food for Thought promotion will be used to inspire next year’s Imagine Cup student teams – since the first step for a team is picking a problem that they want to solve.

    The Imagine Cup is a competition for tertiary student teams who combine their passion, creativity and technical know-how to tackle some of the world's toughest problems. It’s how Microsoft encourages students to make a difference in the world through the power of technology.

    Now you can play your part: If you had the chance, which world problem would you tackle with technology? Get involved at www.microsoft.com.au/thought or on Twitter at #FFTAU or check out the Food For Thought stall on Saturday, 7 July, at Pyrmont Markets, 7:00-11:00 am.

  • Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals in Sydney: An Interview with Ed Hooper

    Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of students using technical innovation to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. This video features former Imagine Cup winner and now judge Ed Hooper from Australia sharing his Imagine Cup experience and insights.

     

    Ed is a business-minded technology enthusiast who has spent the past five years working with startups and for large enterprise. He completed his study at the University of Melbourne and at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 2008, he was a member of the team that won first place in the Microsoft Imagine Cup out of a field of over 200,000 students from 100 countries with the sustainable farming system SOAK. Recently Edward founded 121cast.com, a Melbourne-based startup redefining the radio with personalized information and entertainment. Prior to this he has worked at Groupon, ANZ Bank and the travel startup rome2rio.com.

    You can view other Imagine Cup 2012 videos here: http://www.youtube.com/wwmsp

    Follow the official Microsoft Imagine Cup channels for updates:

    Website: http://www.imaginecup.com/

    Blog: http://www.imaginecup.com/blogs/default.aspx

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/imaginecup

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/microsoftimaginecup

    Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/imaginecup/

  • Microsoft Announces Imagine Cup 2012 Winners, Ukrainian Team Takes Top Place

    Student winners from across the globe, including the United States and Thailand, are honored at the 10th anniversary of the Imagine Cup.

     

    Microsoft Corp. announced the winners of the 10th annual Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition, honoring student technology innovations that address the world’s toughest problems. The winners were announced in front of 106 student teams. The event was the culmination of a five-day celebration of technology, teamwork and innovation.

    Software and Game Design Winners at Imagine Cup 2012

    Team quadSquad from the Ukraine took top honors in the Software Design Competition with its device, Enable Talk, which uses a pair of gloves equipped with 15 flex sensors and a microcontroller that continuously recognizes sign language patterns, which are then transmitted via Bluetooth to a Windows Phone device that uses the Microsoft Speech API and Bing API to translate the signs into audio. With its victory, the team won US$25,000. 

    Team quadSquad was not the only competitor whose project was designed to enhance the quality of life for the disabled. Twenty-three percent of Imagine Cup projects this year were created to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments and diseases that limit a human’s physical mobility.

    In 2004, more than 275 million people globally had moderate to profound hearing impairment, 80 percent of them in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization’s most recent data.

    “We were inspired to help our friends who are hearing- and speech-impaired to have the ability to communicate like everyone else,” said Maxim Osika, Team quadSquad. “The Imagine Cup is an amazing experience; we’re thrilled to be here learning from the experts around us.”

    Teams competed in two Game Design competitions — Game Design: Xbox/Windows and Game Design: Phone. The winning games addressed social issues including poverty, environment and sustainability, education, and community involvement. In Game Design: Xbox/Windows, TANG Thai from Thailand focused on protecting the environment and preventing deforestation. In Game Design: Phone, Drexel Dragons from the United States created an engaging game designed to teach math and problem solving in new ways to elementary school students. Each first-place team received US$8,000.

    More than 350 students from 75 countries traveled to Sydney after competing in local and online events, representing the best and brightest selected to compete in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals. Cash prizes totaling approximately US$175,000 were awarded across eight competition categories.

    More information on the Imagine Cup 2012 winners is available here: http://www.imaginecup.com/CompetitionsContent/Competition/WorldwideFinalists.aspx

    “Over the past 10 years, Imagine Cup participants have applied technology and minds to positively impact their local communities and change the world,” said Moorthy Uppaluri, General Manager, Global Academic Programs, Microsoft. “Whether it’s using the cloud to aid in disaster recovery, inventing technology to make education more accessible to erase the digital divide or making it possible to diagnose medical conditions using mobile phones, the Imagine Cup has inspired students to imagine what once was considered impossible and make it real.”

    Imagine Cup is more than a competition; it’s a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have an opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, set a clear business plan and even take their product to market. All Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finalist teams that competed in Sydney this year are eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants, a three-year, US$3 million investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality. More information on Imagine Cup Grants can be found at http://www.imaginecup.com in the coming weeks. In addition, through the Microsoft BizSpark program, Imagine Cup participants can launch startup businesses in their communities and across the Web. More information on BizSpark can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark.

    Imagine Cup 2013 Heads to Russia

    As is tradition at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals, Pip Marlow, General Manager of Microsoft Australia, participated in the ceremonial flag passing to mark the transition of host country duties. Nikolay Pryanishnikov, General Manager of Microsoft Russia, was on hand to accept the flag on behalf of Russia, which will host the 11th annual Imagine Cup in St. Petersburg in July 2013.

  • Microsoft Malaysia Reaffirms its Commitment to NGOs

    A total of 52 participants, comprising NGOs from Penang, Perak and Kedah, attended the first NGO roundtable event held in Malaysia on 5 April. Ms Yap Soo Huey, the Science and Technology officer from the Chief Minister’s office represented the Penang Tech Center and lauded the event as highly beneficial for participating NGOs. YBhg Dato’ Mary Ritchie, Governor of the Tun Sardon Foundation, stated that the roundtable is a first step towards engagement with Microsoft, and saw this as new ground for further collaboration.

    Jasmine Begum, Corporate Affairs Director of Microsoft Malaysia, shared her insights on how cloud computing could help NGOs further reduce their overhead costs, while serving the underprivileged community. Gillian Pearl, Non Profit Technology Lead, then shared her thoughts on social media for nonprofit organizations – including best practices and the dos & don’t in social media. Many NGOs found the session particularly insightful, as the tips and tricks could potentially help them reach out to a larger number of beneficiaries and stakeholders. The participants also had the opportunity to hear from Vio Monsayo from the Visayan Forum Foundation. He shared his experiences on how technology enabled higher productivity and communication in his organization.

    Finally, Mandeep Kaur, Community Affairs Manager for Microsoft Malaysia, shared information on programs available to NGOs, including those offered by TechSoup Asia, an organization that delivers technological resources to NGO’s and civil society organizations in Asia Pacific.

    All in all, the event was a hit. Rashidah Begum, Friends of Penang Botanic Gardens Society, summed it up by saying, “It was a very good information-sharing session by the Microsoft staff, who showcased a secure understanding of NGOs in Malaysia.”

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