Every year a multitude of teams fight it out for the Microsoft Imagine Cup, competing to come up with technology solutions to solving the world's toughest problems, and 19 groups from around New Zealand are officially in the running for a shot at the supreme title this year.
The 19 teams were chosen from 400 submissions from university and polytechnic students around the country to compete for a shot at representing New Zealand at the worldwide finals in Sydney in July. Each team will present to a panel of four judges on April 29 at the University of Auckland to determine the final four teams. These final four will be announced at the Imagine Cup Festival the following day, and present to a panel of industry experts before the winning team is announced that evening.
Last year more than 358,000 students from 183 countries participated in the competition. For New Zealand, the 2011 competition was the most successful one to date – with more than 300 team entries and 1,500 competitors.
In the running:
Team MATx, Lincoln University
Using Microsoft Kinect technology to help medical centres/physiotherapists and individuals during post-stroke rehabilitation. It can help keep patients fit and active leading to a reduction of rehab session costs, flexibility of times, reducing added injuries during transportation, allowing for live chat access to medical assistance anytime and the ability to monitor of patient progress, as well as making rehab sessions more fun.
Team 2RTF, University of Auckland
This project aims to optimise aid distribution in disaster stricken areas. The programme is supplied with information on aid distribution, supplies, infrastructure and population density levels, and will compute where aid needs to be and where it isn’t needed.
Team United, Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
World United Project Silver Bullet aims to indirectly reduce poverty by tackling unemployment through streamlining current governmental and loan or microcredit initiatives using a single software product. They are also working on a unique algorithm that predicts if a person would be successful in any chosen business.
Team Dawn Phenomena, Unitec
Creating an educational diabetes system that is targeted at children aged 7-14, in particular those with type 1 or 2 diabetes. The system will be used to educate children, particularly newly diagnosed children, about all things related to the condition and how they can go about living a long and fruitful life with the condition. The system consists of three major components – a video game, a mobile phone application and a web application.
Team BackUp, University of Auckland
Developing a a simple, lightweight vest/singlet to be worn by all-aged members of the population. This senses the spine's alignment in 3D and relays this to a smartphone, which then signals an alert if poor posture is maintained for a length of time. This is also used to update pain specialists' medical records electronically and as a research tool to give insight into common postural problems across particular subsets of the population.
Team Get Lost, University of Auckland
A 'find me' smartphone application communicates with a wireless transmitter that can be worn by a child to allow parents to monitor where they are at all times. This application makes it easy for parents to find lost children and can be also used as a tool to prevent losing children.
Team Dunyati, University of Auckland
Their idea is to se tup micro-lending to African farmers that will be paid back once they harvest their crops, ensuring a higher quality crop and a higher quality of life for the farmers.
Team Zooks, University of Otago
‘Change for Charity’ is a service that provides revenue gathering for charities and distributes collected donations allowing charities to provide feedback to users where their donations are spent. The way the revenue is collected is by a piece of software that is installed on store payment systems that with the user’s agreement rounds their purchase up to the nearest 10cents and then donates the rounding to a charity. Feedback to contributors would be sent back to them to their mobiles letting them know what difference their contribution has provided.
Team Vcom, Victoria University of Wellington
Replacing the traditional way of communicating between the UNICEF authorities and victims by a translator that translates vocal English to the respective local language.
Team Cloud Solutions, Victoria University of Wellington
Over the last few years prediction systems have been built to predict tsunamis but due to lack of processing power they have been unable to really make a difference. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes to get a prediction of a tsunami's details like direction, height, etc. This time can be reduced to staggering 20 to 30 seconds which could save thousands of lives. This can be achieved by offloading this compute intensive workload to the Windows Azure Cloud.
Team Decarbonators, Unitec
We are developing a creative technology solution that addresses a real-world challenge to help alleviate climate change and pollution problems caused by carbon emission. The Carbon Footprint Indicator can be installed on an individual’s mobile phone with pre-set profiles to choose from, enabling every individual to get an estimate of their footprint while they commute to work and award users with 'decarbon' points that can be used to claim discounts on food or at any other commercial organisations that are tied up with CFI.
Team Silver Pass, University of Auckland
A solution that replaces the traditional school report with much more frequent, shorter updates throughout the year, both keeping parents involved and spreading out teacher workload. This would be done through a cloud based computer system that also facilitates parental discussion and learning suggestions.
Team D.E.S, University of Auckland
Disability Employment Service (DES) is an online information system allowing the health industry to allocate employment opportunities to competent individuals who are recovering from a mental illness or a disability. The DES website can provide a networking system between businesses and health departments and will facilitate the sharing of information such as work performance and recovery process of the employed.
Team Doctor Pepper, University of Otago
A tool for aid agencies to allocate resources to provide quality water all over the world where it is most needed by creating a phone app which allows agencies to input information about water quality and ask for resources at their current location.
Team YouMark, University of Technology
The tools being developed by Team YouMark will enable creation of next generation interactive content with teacher collaboration.
Team Mobile Eye, Auckland University of Technology
Developing software designed to provide assistance to blind New Zealanders. The application, MobileEye, is designed to provide the user with an added richness of information. It can take on a multitude of uses based on the needs of the user in the areas of navigation, shopping and even simple day to day activities that can benefit from a greater awareness of surroundings.
Team Connect, University of Auckland
Developing a communication system that, unlike traditional solutions, will respond immediately in the critical hours following a disaster, keeping you connected to loved ones when you need them the most.
Team Aura, University of Auckland
Developing a non-invasive infrared imaging solution to detect abnormalities in breathing.This information can then be easily accessed by medical professionals and patients alike through the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform.
Team Thought-Wired, University of Auckland
Thought-Wired NOUS is an integrated solution designed to restore abilities to those who lack them. Its primary function is to empower individuals with severe physical disabilities in communication and interaction capacities. It allows people to communicate using the mind alone, and controlling simple devices at home to education, mobility and entertainment applications.