On 1 April 2016, two Singapore Polytechnic teams and one Nanyang Polytechnic team swept the top prizes in Microsoft’s student technology competition Imagine Cup (Singapore National Finals), which saw a total of 65 project entries for three categories: World Citizenship, Innovation and Games.
As part of the international Microsoft Imagine Cup that started 14 years ago, National Finals are held in dozens of countries annually. The teams then enter the World Semifinals, before going onto the finals. The finalists will win a trip to attend the World Finals happening in Seattle in July 2016.
Last year, Singapore was represented in the Finals by a Temasek Polytechnic team which clinched the first runner-up position in the World Citizenship category. The winning entry was a mosquito-monitoring platform powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based technologies.
World Citizenship category
Project: Ruth the Social Robot
By: Team Yuuy, Nanyang Polytechnic
With global elderly population estimated to more than double to about 1.4 billion in 2030, the caregiving needs of the elderly is becoming a concern for many countries. With increasing sophistication in eldercare robotics development, helper robots are becoming increasingly feasible, and ‘Ruth’ might just be one breakthrough in this field.
The shiny white-and-yellow robot functions primarily as a companion that can read and respond to verbal and emotional cues. In addition, it uses IoT to provide on-going monitoring of the home environment (e.g. it can detect a gas leakage), as well as an integrated infra-red controller to control infra-red-enabled home appliances (e.g. air-conditioners).
NYX, a service-oriented chatbot
By: Team Natural Conquistadors, Singapore Polytechnic
After the apps, it’s the bots—so it is said for the next milestone in the evolution of internet. A chatbot is an artificial intelligence computer software programme that communicate with users via an automated messaging interface. Using a bot-driven platform, NYX is essentially a virtual customer service representative assisting customers in finding information. It harnesses API integration and natural language processing to enable responses to natural language queries.
Kinect-based RPG ‘Imagine’
By: Team Holy Trinity, Singapore Polytechnic
In this RPG adventure quest, protagonist Cliff Owen is trying to return to his own world after being accidentally sucked into a fantasy world. But to do that, he has to overcome numerous challenges and enemies.
The team behind the game is confident of the rich market potential due to the limited availability of Kinect-based RPGs. The game supports gesture commands, as well as keyboard and mouse.