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Microsoft New Zealand has today announced the top 20 teams set to battle it out at the Imagine Cup 2011 finals festival in April next year at the University of Auckland.
The 20 teams were whittled down from 280 submissions from university students across New Zealand.
“The calibre of entries was incredible this year, and it made our jobs of choosing the finalists a lot more challenging,” says Nigel Parker, Acting Director of Developer and Platform Group for Microsoft New Zealand.
“We’ve had double the amount of entries this year than in the past, and it is great to see the future leaders in technology and science step up to the challenge we set them – to solve the world’s toughest problems.”
The Microsoft Imagine Cup is designed to challenge students to develop technology to solve some of the world’s toughest problems by applying their imagination, passion and creativity to technology innovations to help make a difference in the world. The Microsoft Imagine Cup is in its ninth year, and is a truly global competition, with more than 300,000 students from 142 countries around the world entering to compete in the worldwide finals, which will be held in New York, July 2011.
“It is a privilege to have been part of this competition from the start and help the group develop their ideas and then guide them through presenting those ideas to a team of industry experts,” says Brett Roberts from Business IQ, mentor to Team Number 3.
“Microsoft provides these students with the opportunity to flex their brains by finding ways to help those less fortunate than themselves. Regardless of where they finish, this will help every single one of them with their future personal and professional development.”
There have been a few changes to the New Zealand competition this year, with the addition of new categories – Embedded Development, Digital Media, Game Design and the Windows Phone 7 Challenge. Each team will present to two panels of judges on 12 April, at the Microsoft Imagine Cup Festival, to determine the final four teams. The finalists will present to a panel of industry experts and the winner will be announced that evening.
The top 20 teams for the Imagine Cup 2011 are:
· Team A+ from the University of Auckland – GPS Direct project
‘GPS Direct’ is mobile phone software that enables visually impaired people to navigate independently. Users can download the software to their mobile phone and use the screen reading programme installed in the phone to operate the GPS Direct application. The application tracks a user’s current location and informs the user on how to get to their chosen destination.
· Team Asclepius from the University of Auckland – Eye for the Blind project
We provide user-friendly software for caregivers to draw the map of a house and the suggested paths to and from areas of the house. All of this is achieved by using our software on a computer.
· Team BookieMonster from the University of Waikato – BookieMonster project
BookieMonster is a Windows PC application that provides students with the ability to practice their reading under the repeated reading system without bogging down a teacher with the difficult on-the-fly analysis.
· Team CyrusSyrus from the University of Auckland – Phoenix project
One of the requirements that bind all companies is they must report their financial activities in accordance with the expectations laid down by the International Accounting Board (IAB) in the International Financial Reporting Standards. Herein is the perfect tool to influence the behaviour of firms by creating an asset that places a value on the socially responsible activities carried out by the firm relative to their size. Companies who are strongly socially responsible will be in a better financial position, attracting greater investment and being able to leverage higher levels of debt.
· Team Food from Lincoln University – Where is my food? project
‘Where is my food?’ is software that assembles the information about soon-to-be expired food from sponsored supermarket to a database of the charity. The database analyses and arranges the information according to categories of food, such as milk, bread, beef, fish, etc. and locations. The charity can then publish the information on the website and notice boards of local communities so poor people can go to the specific supermarket at a certain time to collect free food.
· Team InterLec from the University of Auckland – Translator project
The solution is called InterLec (international lecture) and is a sequence of processes that translates a recorded lecture (from a developed country) into a desired language, with the help of programming. A lecture is recorded in one country, for example America, the video recording then goes through our system and is translated into the required language.
· Team Number 3 from the University of Auckland – Malaria project
Our solution is to use a collaboration platform involving current information, current partners and current actions in a bid to help eradicate malaria from the world. By having a system which updates the concerned parties within days rather than months, it can be used to greater effect to help dispatch medical aid to the concerned regions. We can now react faster to a potential outbreak and stop it from spreading by concentrating aid efforts.
· Team MBAS from the University of Auckland – Coffee2Go project
We plan to utilise online mapping platforms and GPS equipment to draft a global map of the sustainable coffee plantations. The application should also support communications, in order for the farmers and buyers to easily access information on each field, such as farm location, travel directions, yield quantity, plant quality etc. This will lessen the purchasing time and resource required from buyers to purchase their stock, as well as allowing farmers to create a fair and open trading platform to which further enhances the ‘Trade Fair’ concept.
· Team MCG from the University of Auckland – The Sentinel project (Laser Defence System Against Mosquitoes)
The Sentinel is a more practical adaptation of the concept prototype “Photonic Fence”, which was developed by Intellectual Ventures Lab. It uses the same basic principal, in which fence posts use optical sensors to cover the space between posts. The optical sensor will track and identify any insect that cross the 10cm boundary. If the insect is indeed a blood sucking mosquito, it will emit a lethal laser beam from its blue laser diode. Our prototype uses the same principal but will be further optimised by using parts that are found in consumer electronics, thus greatly reducing the cost. Also, alternative power sources would be installed, such as solar and wind, for uses in areas with unreliable electricity supply.
· Team Micro from the University of Canterbury – Share-a-ride project – get rewards while helping the environment.
‘Share-a-ride’ is a web-based system, enabling users to share transport. Working on the ride-share system already being used in many work places, where a person that has a car can share their transport with another person going to the same destination.
· Team Compsci from the University of Auckland – Radio Quality project
‘Radio Quality’ is a system which involves the transmission of data (text file, html etc.) using radio waves over existing infrastructure. This involves encoding the data and transmitting over the FM radio band to retrieve vital information from the water quality sensors.
· Team Semantek from Auckland University of Technology – Semantic Phone for Emergency Responders project
This is a semantic cell phone solution – by building a semantic web interface, the user will be able to pull information down with only a cell phone. The phone application will be able to determine the best options available.
· Team SkyEye from the University of Auckland – SkyEye project
SkyEye is a software solution designed to prevent car accidents and improve road safety globally. It includes a personal system and a server-side system. The personal system named “Mobile Eye” (a Driver Assistance System), is an application for the phone. It uses the camera and GPS of the cell phone as its main sensors, thus supporting mobility and low cost.
· Team Taiao from the University of Waikato – Taiao project
The Taiao solution is a software application that allows a user to programmatically take a photograph of the tracking card. The programme will analyse the image captured and process the results. The programme will, based on the tracking card, determine whether or not a mouse footprint is present on the card, if so it will determine how many mice contributed to the footprints on the cards.
· Team Blades from the University of Auckland – Unmanned Aid Vehicle (UAV) project
UAV is a mobile phone controlled helicopter which will be able to fly to a programmed location. Modern smart phones have a vast array of sensors and a fast processor, making it a perfect candidate for an autopilot platform.
· Team Momo from Massey University – Farmbook project
Farmbook is a community network that provides user an interactive platform to buy, sell, and request variety of crops from other users worldwide. Farmbook also has stations providing free-in-store computers, equipment and quality seeds.
· Team Unite from Auckland University of Technology – Smart Home project
With Smart Home, a simple solution to control any power outlet in your Home or Building via SMS. This technology lets users especially disabled to easily turn on or off any lights, heaters left turned on, from any cell phone.
· Team TextSmart from Victoria University – TextSmart project
‘TextSmart‘ is a web application that allows students in developed nations to donate old textbooks and other reading material that they no longer need – instead of throwing them away or sending them for recycling. Textbooks can be expensive to print afresh and getting used copies can greatly diminish the cost of providing education to the less fortunate children in our world.
· Team Thought-Wired from the University of Auckland – Thought-Wired ABC project
Thought-Wired ABC is a hardware-software solution that returns the control to people lacking agility and mobility to perform everyday tasks, and reduces the amount of aid they require daily through use of brain-computer interface technology and intelligent home systems. Variations of the system can be used in residential living spaces as well as hospitals, rest homes and other facilities.
· Team Unique from the University of Canterbury – Free Education project
‘Free Education’ is a web and mobile based e-learning system with authenticated and interactive multimedia targeting a wide audience. ‘Free Education’ provides a universal education platform with multilingual support and no restrictions on the ability of the younger generation’s learning experience. The beauty of this application is that it keeps track of your education level and it can be customised to suit people of different age groups, knowledge level, interests or any special needs.