Last week I had the privilege of being invited to attend the 2015 Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals in Seattle. As this is a student technology competition, I was very excited to cover the Imagine Cup on my blog. And all my expenses were covered (however this does not influence my opinion of anything I write below).
My biggest takeaway from this trip to Microsoft headquarter is that Microsoft cares deeply about education. I will be writing more about programs such as TEALS and the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative in my next post.
Microsoft Imagine Cup Background
The Imagine Cup competition allows teams of up to four students to compete in one of three categories:
- World Citizenship
Students must not only develop and build a tech product, but also create both business and marketing plans. After many rounds of competition, each country is left with one finalist in each category. These finalists get flown to the city where the Imagine Cup is being held and compete for prizes and an amazing experience. The Imagine Cup began in 2003 in Barcelona, and has since been held in a variety of cities around the world.
2015 Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals
One of the most interesting aspects of the finals was getting to watch some of the finalists present their project to the judges. Many of the teams were from non-English speaking countries, yet they all had at least one member of their team that spoke fluent English. It was amazing seeing the inventions that these teens and twenty-somethings created.
While I would love to write about every team’s project, that would be a very lengthy post. Here are the top 3 in each category:
1st Place – Russia – Team Izhard – Project OVIVO – 2D platform puzzle game with an innovative twist, the world is always evolving and developing.
2nd Place – Netherlands – Team Kuality Games – Project Bounce ’em up – Physics based, competitive, multiplayer action game.
3rd Place – China – Team Thief – Project – Lost Shadow – 3D puzzle game using a creative gameplay called Shadow Path.
1st Place – Brazil – Team eFitFashion – Project Clothes For Me – Marketplace to sell custom tailored clothes based on unique body size and shape in a simpler way. (Overall Winner)
2nd Place – Azerbaijan – Team NoObs – Project Spinal – Helping people control posture to keep spine in line.
3d Place – United Kingdom – Team and Project Siymb – Use of inexpensive wearable to transform conference interactions.
1st Place – Australia – Team Virtual Dementia Experience – Project ADVDE – Simulates the effects of dementia and aging so that caretakers and others can better understand the issues facing people with dementia.
2nd Place – Singapore – Team and Project Mozter – Mosquito monitoring platform using the Internet of Things and cloud-based technologies.
3d Place – Greece – Team and Project PROGNOSIS – Capturing early Parkinson’s Disease using unobtrusive behavioral analysis.
The United States had a project in the Innovation category that would make it easier to match tutors and students on college campuses. And I loved the Innovative project from Canada, Walkly, which I recorded below:
If you would like to read about all the finalist’s projects, or get more in depth details about the Imagine Cup projects above, go to the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015 World Finalist Page.
The selection of the top finalist (Brazil above) was done in a separate ceremony, at the Seattle Convention Center, instead of at Microsoft headquarters where the rest of the Imagine Cup was held. And, in addition to the technology judges, they brought in Thomas Middleditch, star of the hit HBO series “Silicon Valley” as the third judge. You can watch a video of the ceremony at the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship blog.
Stay tuned for more about Microsoft and education. You won’t believe how many free learning resources that Microsoft offers to students and the general public.