Four students from the University of Wollongong will represent UAE and the Arab World at the World Finals of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2015, to be held in Seattle, Washington from July 27 to 31, with teams from 33 countries around the world participating.
Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s global student technology programme and competition for creating novel applications, games, and solutions.
UAE’s team Freedom Fragrance – Heba Nayef, Artaza Aziz and Jawad Jandali Refai – created Lamapp, a mobile app that allows members of the community to anonymously report any form of abuse through video and audio recordings.
Team Freedom Fragrance emerged winners in the World Citizenship category at the Imagine Cup Pan Arab semi-finals in June that brought together all 36 first-prize winners of national rounds from 13 countries across the Middle East and North Africa.
The team will present an updated prototype at the finals of the competition, in Seattle, where they stand to win $50,000 (Dh183,647) and meet Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft.
5 finalists were selected from the 17 projects submitted at the start of this year’s UAE Imagine Cup challenge from students across 7 universities in UAE.
The three category winners from UAE, Team Freedom Fragrance (Lamapp), Team YMAM from Ajman University of Science and Technology (Nanny Robot) and Khalid Al Awar from Khalifah University (Cayram) went on to take part in the Pan Arab Semi-Finals.
“This is an incredible opportunity for the team from UAE to compete side by side with other teams from around the world and also to learn from their experiences,” said Michael Mansour, Head of Apps and Innovation, Microsoft Gulf.
“We are very excited to be representing the UAE and the entire Arab World at the Imagine Cup World Finals. For me, it is an example of how a simple dream can be turned into a tangible solution that touches the lives of people in so many ways,” said Heba Mahmoud Nayef, team member of Freedom Fragrance.
“When we started the Lamapp project, almost no one believed that we could make it, but thanks to Microsoft and their guidance throughout the competition, we have not only emerged winners but also developed a tool that can help to scale down incidences of abuse around the world. I hope that our participation at the Imagine Cup World Finals will inspire other students to believe in themselves, take responsibility of changing the world and pursue their dreams,” she added.
The competition is currently in its 13th year globally, with more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries having participated in the Microsoft Imagine Cup annual competition from inception.