By TECHNOLOGY TIMES Staff
Lagos. June 10, 2013: “We have lots of our loved ones(friends, and families) who have lost their lives due to cardiovascular diseases. Recently a neighbor of one of our team members (Olamide) also died as a result of hypertension. And we received a very sad news recently that most of our parents either have hypertension related diseases to cope with or will soon have. On the stroke part, a very important lecturer in (Yinka’s) faculty died recently of this deadly disease. So we decided to look into it, and see how software can be used to combat this deadly monsters.”
Those were the touching words of Afolabi Olamide, a member of Team LifeSaver, one of the 305 young innovators across the globe who have advanced to Microsoft Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals.
According to Olamide, “People are dying daily of cardiac related diseases, we wanted to save life. Using technology to detect hypertension, stroke, while predicting cardiac arrest, we enhance life expectancy from these monsters.”
Team LifeSaver say they have learnt a key lesson which is that, “Technology can indeed help solve the toughest problems. With the right minds and the right tools, everything that mind can concieve can be achieved.”
The team of young Nigerians developed CardioLife as a solution to tackle hypertension, heart attack by monitoring the heart readings on the fly via a Windows phone to discover any inconsistencies and triggers audible, visible alarms and electronic notifications.
The data acquired are further processed and analyzed in the cloud service for further use by medical experts, they said of the application that also takes care of remote rehabilitation of stroke patients using the Kinect sensor commonly used with Microsft gaming system, XBox.
They young Nigerian tech innovators are joining students from 69 countries to compete for prizes in global competition that turns ideas into reality.
Microsoft Corp. said at the weekend that the 86 teams that will travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, in July to compete in the 11th annual Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in pursuit of $1,000,000 in cash prizes and other awards.
Each team’s innovative ideas, mastery of integrated technology and development of a strong business plan helped them compete in their country during the year, then rise above their peers for the opportunity to represent their country at Microsoft’s annual global student technology competition, according to the software company.
Imagine Cup is part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative to create opportunities for millions of young people around the world.
More students competed in Imagine Cup worldwide this year than ever before, with a more than 70 per cent increase from 2012.
Microsoft says that the best projects advanced to country-level competitions that determined the national teams, while additional teams advanced via a global online competition.
Students could compete via Competitions as well as themed Challenges. Competitions are cornerstone events for Imagine Cup that require students to complete applications built on Microsoft technology aligned to three key focus areas: Innovation, World Citizenship and Games.
Challenges provide an opportunity for students to participate in Imagine Cup by learning, prototyping and creating applications using the newest Microsoft technologies. They occur online only, and the top three teams in each category will attend the Worldwide Finals to compete for first-, second- or third-place awards. Challenge categories include the Windows Azure Challenge, Windows Phone Challenge and Windows 8 App Challenge.
Steve Guggenheimer , Microsft Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist said that “for more than a decade, Imagine Cup has cultivated entrepreneurship in students and has provided them with a vehicle to bring their creativity to life through apps, software platforms and social networks.”
“Participating in initiatives such as Imagine Cup, DreamSpark and BizSpark gives students skills to transition from the classroom to the professional world as business owners, programmers, game designers and entrepreneurs.”
Team Colinked from the University of Exeter will represent the United Kingdom at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals this year in the Innovation Competition, a new category created to celebrate the wider world of student innovations. The team created an app called soundSYNK that uses Bluetooth technology to link an unlimited number of Windows Phones and streams the same song on all of them in perfect timing, effectively creating a symphony of speakers.
“soundSYNK is an impromptu social network that brings people together through the instant sharing of music,” said Edward Noel , a member of Team Colinked. “In a year’s time we hope to be a fully functioning startup with an app on millions of smartphones.”
Imagine Cup welcomes Matt Smith
In addition to the 86 teams attending this year’s final event in Russia, Microsoft is pleased to announce that Matt Smith , who plays the intelligent and witty iconic time traveler on the BBC, will join Imagine Cup students onstage as host of the Worldwide Finals awards ceremony, which will be streamed live online worldwide July 11.
Each year Imagine Cup is dedicated to showing the world how young people can rise from anywhere and shine a brilliant light on the future. This year Matt Smith will be there with Microsoft to infuse that light.
Students will compete at the Worldwide Finals for first, second and third place in six competition categories, as well as awards presented by Imagine Cup sponsors.
AppCampus Award. All teams with a Windows Phone project are eligible to apply for this award with a prize of 50,000 euros in funding, airfare and accommodations to attend a four-week AppCampus training event in Finland.
DreamSpark Learning Award. Teams that developed a project showcasing how software creates new ways of learning and/or teaching are invited to apply for the $5,000 grand prize award.
Facebook Creativity Award. Worldwide Finalists that integrate Facebook Login into their apps to grow distribution and increase engagement will be eligible for the grand prize of $25,000 in Facebook advertising credits.
KFC Russia Award. Worldwide finalist teams with Kinect for Xbox 360 projects related to youth culture, healthy lifestyles or nutrition will be eligible to win the $10,000 prize and have their project featured at the KFC flagship restaurant in Moscow.
Mail.Ru Group Connected Planet Award. Projects that embrace online communications and entertainment in fun, useful and innovative ways are eligible for these prizes: first place, $10,000; second place, $5,000; and third place, $3,000.
Women’s Empowerment Award. Presented in partnership with UN Women, this award will be given to teams that create technology solutions that empower women to improve their lives. The first-place prize is $12,000 and second place is $8,000.
Worldwide Finalists with projects focused on social good also have the chance to apply for Microsoft Imagine Cup Grants, part of a $3 million investment by Microsoft through its YouthSpark initiative to help students turn their ideas for social good into reality.
Industry experts set to judge at Worldwide Finals
This year Imagine Cup has judges representing both a breadth of experience and a depth of expertise in innovation, technology development, gaming and other key areas. Those coming to Russia to judge the final projects include Catherine Bracy from Code For America; Simon Lu from Twitter; Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of “Tetris”; and many others.