By Emeka Aginam, in Seattle, Washington
After the top three teams in the Games, Innovation and World Citizenship have pitched their projects in front of hundreds of students, judges, and Journalists in the Quincy Jones Performing Arts Centre at Seattle’s Garfield High School, Washington, the United States of America, this morning, Team ENTy in the innovation category from Romania took the place as the 2016 Imagine Cup World Champion winner.
With this development, Microsoft has crowned team the Imagine Cup World Champion. This will give the wining students the opportunity to have one on one mentorship with the Microsoft Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Satya Nadella.
ENTy is a wearable device that tracks inner ear balance and spinal posture and tell users if they are having balance or posture issues.
Team ENTy’s project is an app for monitoring balance and posture. The team’s members include Flavia Oprea, Iulian-Razvan Matesica and Cristian Alexandrescu.
Speaking with excitement, the Romanian team leader , Iulian-Razvan Matesica while expressing appreciation to Microsoft for the opportunity to participate in the Imagine Cup assured that they will take their project to the market.
“We did not know we could do it. We are going to launch it and get medical certificate for the product. This will help deliver the products to the hospital. But we need angel investors and seed fund to scale up the solution” she said.
For Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Microsoft, every student who participated in the worldwide finals was a winner.
“We all have amazing solutions that can change the world. You have made us proud. Use the solution to make a difference in the world. This is just the beginning”, he said.
It would be recalled that the final leg of the nearly year-long Imagine Cup journey began on Wednesday, when 35 teams from all over the globe competed in front of our judges for the top three spots in the Games, Innovation and World Citizenship categories.
Team PH21 of Thailand in Games, Team ENTy of Romania in Innovation and Team AMANDA of Greece in World Citizenship each had claimed their $50,000 category prize and then moved on to the Championship round to compete for the grand prize – the Imagine Cup crown and a private mentoring session with Microsoft CEO.
Their innovations were judged by a trio of out-of-this world judges who helped to decide which of these incredible teams would be the Imagine Cup 2016 Champion, including special guest John Boyega, lead actor from Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Dr. Jennifer Tang, one-half of the duo that won the 2014 Imagine Cup Championship; and Kasey Champion, an accomplished software engineer and Computer Science Curriculum Developer at Microsoft.
During the Championship Show, it was exciting to see finalists’ reactions as they received words of encouragement and inspiration from the likes of Seattle Seahawks superstar quarterback Russell Wilson and hit recording artist and Garfield High alum Macklemore, both of whom congratulated the students on making it this far in the competition and wished them luck on their innovation journey.
During the final leg of their journey, Imagine Cup student finalists gained a number of valuable experiences – and inspired us every step of the way. They participated in a live hackathon and got to see first-hand just how powerful a few lines of code can be.
The Garfield High gymnasium was transformed into a Robo World Cup Hackathon space where more than a 100 local high school students from the Boys & Girls Club and Garfield High joined Imagine Cup competitors.
The hackathon, run by Microsoft Student Partners, helped students build and customize a robot kit using Windows 10 and Microsoft Azure, and tested their innovation in a World Cup style soccer style elimination tournament. The winners received an Xbox One, HP Spectre laptop and a World Cup trophy.