Team Life Saver has emerged the winning team of the 2013 Microsoft Imagine Cup competition organized in partnership with Nokia, a student competition which centers on the use of imagination, creativity and technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems. Members of the team interestingly, cut across two of Nigeria’s foremost tertiary institutions, Obafemi Awolowo University and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.
Imagine Cup is more than a competition. As part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative, it is a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have the opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, set a clear business plan and eventually take their product to market. All Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalist teams are eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants, a three year USD3-million investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality. Microsoft BizSpark, another YouthSpark initiative, enables Imagine Cup participants to launch startup businesses in their communities and across the web.
In total, 12 teams from Nigeria competed during a challenging day of presentations, which brought together students from universities across the country. Afolabi Olamide, Oluwole Michael, Akinlaja Solomon and Adewale Adeyinka, all members of Team Life Saver, competed in the category of World Citizenship. Their solution titled CardioLife is designed to tackle heart attack by monitoring heart reading on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone. The solution also provides a rehabilitation programme for stroke patients using the Kinect sensor.
In addition to winning the ticket to the global finals scheduled for St Petersburg, Russia in July 2013, Nokia would be giving each member of Team Life Saver its innovative smartphones, Nokia Lumia 920 devices while Dell Nigeria would present them with Dell Vestro laptops.
“We are speechless! To have won the competition – and to have the opportunity to represent our country at the Worldwide Imagine Cup along some of the brightest young minds – is an honour,” said Team Life Saver’s spokesperson, Oluwole Michael. “And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to compete with students from around the globe who, like us, are passionate about making a difference in the world.”
The competitors in the Nigerian Finals for Imagine Cup 2013 have joined student innovators from across the globe to take their innovative and ground-breaking ideas from concept to marketplace with Microsoft resources. Each of the 12 competitors was honoured for their work to address some of Nigeria’s toughest challenges:
Some of the projects showcased were:
– Windows on Wheels, a car navigation and personal driving assistant by Team Eagle Inc from the Federal University of Technology Akure ( FUTA).
– The Compventure, a text-based role playing game solution by Team Golympus from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
– Easy Retailer, a solution that eases up buying process for clients, by Team Linfix from Redeemers University
– Course Trail, an electronic tutoring platform that teaches illiterate users to read and speak correctly by Team Mercury from OAU
Other participating teams included Team NIKAO from OAU, Team Pearl from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and Team iAce from FUTA.
“Each team that competed in the regional finals is deserving of the highest recognition for the creativity and imagination applied to some of the world’s biggest challenges. We’re proud to honour these young students who we believe truly exemplify the spirit of the Imagine Cup competition, and we’ll be cheering Team Life Saver on as they compete on the world stage in St Petersburg,” said Yinka Oni, National Technology Officer for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa.
Oni continued, “Imagine Cup is also directly aligned with the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative that was launched earlier this year as it drives access to technology, innovation and world-class skills. We believe deeply that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world, and we are honoured to engage with these young people to help bring their innovative ideas to fruition.”
In his congratulatory message at the event, Partner Manager, Developer Experience Nokia West Africa, Olumide Balogun applauded the winners on their victory. “We are proud of Team Life Saver for developing such an innovative solution which fetched them the ticket to showcase their talents on the world stage and more importantly, pleased at their smart delivery during the project presentation”.
He added, “We appreciate their efforts and hardwork and hope they go on to win the cup at the worldwide finals in Russia”.
Mr. Balogun also commended Microsoft for their persistence at providing the platform for Nigerian youths to showcase their creativity and more importantly ensuring IT penetration in the country.
Second place winner, Team Eagle will share in the largesse as every member of the team will each get a Nokia Lumia 620 phone and Dell Vestro laptop. Third place winner, Team NIKAO will also walk away with Nokia Lumia 620 phones.
More than 1.65 million students across the globe have participated in Imagine Cup during the past decade, creating applications and games that address the world’s toughest social problems. The 2013 competition builds on the core elements that have been most popular with students in the past 10 years – social impact and gaming – while expanding the competition’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. The 11th Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals are taking place in St Petersburg, Russia in July 2013.
As an example of the type of real-world solutions the Imagine Cup judges are looking for, the 2012 winners of the Software Design Competition Team quadSquad from the Ukraine developed a device that uses a pair of gloves equipped with 15 flex sensors and a microcontroller that continuously recognize sign language patterns. These patterns are then transmitted via Bluetooth to a Windows Phone device that uses the Microsoft Speech API and Bing API to translate the signed into audio. With its victory, the team won USD25, 000.
Team Life Saver will join the brightest young minds to compete on the world stage in July. Like Team Gravity from Obafemi Awolowo University that represented Nigeria at the Worldwide Finals in Australia last year, the 2013 competitors will gain real life experience, make new friends, and harness the power of technology to take on the world’s toughest problems.