Team Firebirds, made up of four students from the Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), is this year’s winner in the Imagine Cup Sri Lanka Finals with the development of an application that helps blind and visually impaired people conduct their daily activities with greater ease.
A total of 14 student teams were selected to compete in this year’s Sri Lanka Finals, held on 10 April at the University of Colombo, School of Computing.
Named ‘I-Chum’, the winning project is a mobile app equipped with the latest motion sensors and sonars — sound navigation devices — that enable visually impaired people to detect the presence of physical objects for easier navigation of their surroundings. For example, the app allows the user to know or sense the proximity of a bench. The ultimate aim of the project is to equip visually impaired people with the means to interact with their physical environment without compromising their personal safety.
In creating their winning app, the four IIT students focused their efforts on addressing the lack of technologies that are specifically developed to improve the lifestyle of people suffering from visual impairment. The students visited the School for Deaf and Blind in Ratmalana to conduct initial research, and they were greatly encouraged by how well the application was received.
More than 8,000 Sri Lankan students have participated in the annual competition since the Imagine Cup was first launched in the country in 2005. This year, more than 700 students from both public and private universities took part in the competition, and Microsoft provided these students with free access to the latest tools and technologies to make a positive contribution.
Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka, said, “The Imagine Cup competition provides the platform for young University students in Sri Lanka to leverage the power of technology to address some of the world’s most pressing issues. By competing against other teams, these young people also gain firsthand experience in interacting with other student innovators. This year’s winning project by Team Firebirds is a great example of how the Imagine Cup competition can help students bring their inventive ideas to fruition.”
Following their victory, Team Firebirds will be representing Sri Lanka in the Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals, which will take place in July in Russia.
For more information, please visit www.imaginecup.com
“This year’s winning project by Team Firebirds is a great example of how the Imagine Cup competition can help students bring their ideas to fruition.”
- Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka