Young Innovators from Asia Shine through Technology and Teamwork

From showcasing the use of technology and supporting philanthropic activities to unlocking the potential of game applications as advanced learning tools, student teams from Asia put up a strong showing at the 11th Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals where 87 student teams from 71 countries competed for fame, glory and prize money — by showcasing how their cutting-edge technology projects can solve some of the most challenging problems facing the world.

Need to simplify the diagnosis and management process of medical imaging such as MRI and CT scans? Just ask Team MYRA from Thailand for their solution that clinched third place in the Innovation category for their SkyPACS project.

Want to teach young people to exercise their mental arithmetic skills in a fun and engaging manner? Play Save the Hamster, an app that won Team Solite Studio from Indonesia first runner-up in the Games category.

What do you get when you combine a smart phone app that replaces a traditional hearing aid with a cloud service to identify potential hearing problems, and throw in a sound processing technology that enhances the quality of all forms of vocal communication? An award winning app, created by Team Omni-Hearing Solution from Taiwan, that finished second place in both the World Citizenship app category and the Women’s Empowerment Award.

Got extra food that you can donate to those in need? Australia’s Team Confufish Royale created an app to help make these connections with a Foodbank Local solution that finished third in the World Citizenship app category.

Imagine Cup is part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative to create opportunities for millions of young people around the world. This year's winners were announced at the Imagine Cup Awards Ceremony on 11 July, held at the historic Alexandrinsky Theater in St Petersburg, Russia. The event was attended by more than 800 students, judges, award partners, Russian dignitaries and members of the media from around the world.

Not only do students have a chance to learn new development skills, the Imagine Cup also provides students with a platform to gain first-hand experience in working with industry partners to successfully develop their projects, giving them a huge step toward seeing their projects succeed in the real world.

Brad Lorge of Team Confufish Royale said, “We are going to launch the system within weeks and it is down to the passion and dedication of our partners. Their mentorship and support has changed every member of our team, and we would do it all again just for that experience.”

This year’s Imagine Cup competition also featured a series of exclusive online challenges, providing more opportunities for learning, prototyping and creating apps using Microsoft technologies. Several Asian student teams performed remarkably well in the following product-specific challenges:

* In the Windows AzureTM challenge, Team Y-Nots from India developed the Zoik It! app to enable people to connect easily with each other through common interests, while Team LetssGo from China delivered the Get & Put app that enables the human body to be the "courier" of virtual data.

* In the Windows® Phone challenge, Team vSoft Studio from Singapore made a strong impression with its Speak Reminder app that provides a fast way to create a reminder via mobile devices using speech control, while Team Clever Mind from Thailand developed the Vocable World app as an interactive vocabulary learning tool for language learners.

In addition to the Competitions and Challenges, students competed for the following special awards from Imagine Cup sponsors:

* AFT (App Fast Track) Excellence Award, including a review by the WindowsTeam to enhance their projects and deliver great Windows 8 apps, went to Team Lumos from Korea and their app that provides a new way of enjoying music through projection mapping.

* The Samsung Digital Native Award that honours fresh thinking, digital savvy and global perspective of its project went to Team Firebird from Sri Lanka, who developed an app that helps blind and visually impaired people conduct their daily activities with greater ease.

“The students participating in the Imagine Cup competition demonstrate the very best in innovation from their home countries and together are creating new apps, innovations and services that will change the way the world works, interacts and learns,” said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist at Microsoft. “We are incredibly proud of the finalists who competed in Imagine Cup this year and stand in awe of the projects and technology that they brought forth during this exciting week.”

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