UAE students were at their innovative best at this week’s Imagine Cup challenge, with Team Freedom Fragrance from University of Wollongong Dubai (UOWD), Team Al Awar from Khalifa University and Team YMAM from Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST) declared winners this year.
Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier technology program and competition for students to learn, build and compete with innovative tools, platform and services.
This year, the challenge featured three categories that included Gaming, Innovation and World Citizenship.
AUST’s Team YMAM won for their Smart Robot Babysitter project in Innovation. The babysitter will give parents the ability to monitor their children while they are out of the house, or in the kitchen and be able to communicate with them using an application installed on their mobile phones.
In the same category, Team Fuse from Bitts Pilani developed Fuse, an app that provides a personalised message feed to its users through which they can interact and connect with like-minded people and also provides insightful recommendations to the users based on their previous travel patterns and interaction through the message board.
In the Gaming category, Team Al Awar from Khalifah University developed Cayram, a multiplayer 3D board game that requires accuracy and skills to score as many points by using the dice to get the pieces into the nets that are located at all corners and when the board runs out of pieces, the player with the highest score wins.
Also under this category, Team Enter Main Loop from Herriot Watt University developed Project Graviton, a PC game featuring ‘Bob’ the main character as he goes through his boss’s secret basement and must overcome obstacles such as mines and lasers to collect coins and move to the next levels.
Under the World Citizenship category, Team Fragrance from UOWD developed ‘LamApp’, a mobile application that provides the community (victims and passers-by) with an authentic reporting tool that enables them to record a video when an abuse is taking place in public and record audio when it is happening behind closed doors. LamApp offers a doorway to security where victims and the community around the victims can confidentially reports instances of abuse.
In the same category, Team N2 from AUST created an emergency response system to be used by healthcare services. Users can call for medical help in case of an emergency.
Additionally, Team Freedom Fragrance received a special award following a meticulous assessment of their projects by judges from various government entities in the UAE.
All the three finalist teams will travel to Bahrain to represent the UAE at the Pan Arab Finals taking place in the 1st week of June.
The 9th edition of Imagine Cup finals in UAE took place at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi on April 22, following a protracted selection exercise that began in September 2014 with submission of projects from several teams across UAE universities.
The top six teams were drawn from Ajman University of science and technology (AUST), University of Wollongong Dubai (UOWD), Khalifa University, Herriot Watt and BITS-Pilani.
The contestants were adjudicated by a judging panel comprising of eminent industry experts that included Col. Barakat Alkendi, Head of Systems Development at Abu Dhabi Police & Head of Smart Government Transformation Strategy at UAE Ministry of Interior as well as H.E Mohamed Alnuaimi, Executive Director Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, Fahim Al Nuaimi, CIO of Ankabut, Gogem Artug, Vice President, Technology Operations & Services at Mubadala Development Company, and Ayman Al Qudsi, CIO , National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
Michael Mansour, Head of Apps and Innovation, Microsoft Gulf said, “Microsoft is constantly crafting prospects that encourage young students to develop their imagination and creativity for innovative technological advancements that can further address real-world issues.
“Imagine Cup compliments Microsoft’s commitment to create social and economic opportunities through programs and products that can transform education, foster local innovation, drive future prosperity and enable jobs and opportunities within UAE and worldwide. We strongly believe that the future of economies is premised on how best they can stir innovation.”
Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology said: “We are honoured to be hosting the UAE finals of such an important and prestigious competition for some of the brightest young minds in the fields of technology engagement and integration.”
“We thank Microsoft for once again partnering with the Higher Colleges of Technology, which is a champion of technology integration, to enable students across the UAE to showcase their knowledge and skills in the vital field of technology,” he added.
“The many students, including the teams from HCT, have been able to demonstrate their creativity, passion and ability to apply various methodologies to innovate and think ‘outside the box’ in order to find solutions to every day issue so that we can improve the way society lives, works and plays.
This year’s Imagine Cup challenge for the first time featured the gaming category along two other categories, Innovation and World Citizenship. The challenges were: Pitch Video Challenge requiring students to record a three to five minute video with the team to pitch their project. Project Blueprint Challenge that requires students to dig deep into their thinking and deliver a written project proposal covering the end-users, requirements, scenarios and business model. The User Experience Challenge was aimed at encouraging teams to focus on transformative user experiences by showing the user flow, wireframes and a visual target for how the software will look on screen.
Submission of entries were accepted from teams comprising of four members, aged 16 to 26 years who were challenged to develop innovative projects and present real world solutions to real world problems. A total of 30 projects were submitted from 8 Universities across the UAE out of which six projects made it to the UAE Finals.
The competition is currently in its 13th year globally and has grown to become the world's global student technology competition with more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries having participated in the Microsoft Imagine Cup annual competition from inception.