BY EMEKA AGINAM
No fewer than 125 tech students from 34 countries around the world yesterday began live presentations of their innovative solutions at the ongoing Microsoft Imagine Cup students software competition holding in Seattle, Washington, the United States of America,
Representing Nigeria is Team High Rise from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Osun State, showcasing software Nigeria to the world.
With strong support from the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, members of Team High Rise including Adefioye Temidayo, Faleye Benjamin, Oyebisi Jemil and Ibraheem Bello had developed a solution, Catara which serves the purpose of drastically reducing the rate at which cataract causes total blindness.
Having joined the brightest young minds around the world to fly African flag at the global stage, their solution, according to keen observers has shown positive signals to address local change in the health sector.
However, three of these teams, according to available statistics , are female, indicating that more women are apparently showing more interest in technology.
Top teams from each category such as Games, Innovation, and World Citizenship are expected to take home $50,000.
Running in its 12th year, Imagine Cup started with just 2,000 students from 25 countries.To date, over 1.75 million students from more than 190 countries have engaged with the Imagine Cup program.
Open to students around the world, the competition spans one year, beginning with national and online competitions, and culminating at the World Finals, which is hosted in a different country every year.
Code as universal language
At the capacity building event that speaks code as universal language, each team, according to Microsoft rules has ten minutes to present their project to a panel of judges, followed by ten minutes of questions and answers.
At the end of their presentations, all the teams will travel to Microsoft global headquarters to set up a showcase of their projects for thousands of Microsoft staff .
By tomorrow, (Thursday) , hands-on judging will begin. Each judge is expected to spend fifteen minutes with each team, trying out their project directly and having an informal conversation about their work.
At the end of the judging, there will be another showcase for Microsoft staff to come. This will culminate with an evening of Microsoft Partner Awards dinner where prizes for the Facebook Creativity Award, the AppCampus Award, the Apps for Office Challenge, and the Windows & Windows Phone Challenge will be given.
Accordingly, student projects at the ongoing event addressed a number of trends including accessibility, social media, physical therapy gamification and much more.
From statistics, over 80% of World Citizenship teams created innovative ways to use technology in the medical field for such areas as accessibility, remote physical therapy, disease diagnosis, and other applications.
Over 50% of all projects and 100% of the Games category were created to inspire fun – with examples including an app that enriches tourism by allowing users to scan photos or other documents to search for more information, and a fitness app that encourages users to stay active with a virtual pet.
Social is a prominent theme in the Innovation category , accounting for 27% of projects. The projects included apps that allow users to share messages, photos and videos with others in a specified location, and an easy way to track a friend/user’s distance from a meeting location with his/her estimated arrival time.
This year’s judges include representatives from some great organizations, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Indiecade, the Gates Foundation, and Facebook.
The Imagine Cup is a skill-based competition comprised of three competitions. The object of this competition is to create innovative and original software applications.