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NZ winners announced for Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013

NZ winners announced for Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013

A total of 549 students submitted proposals to the Microsoft's Imagine Cup this year.

A total of 549 students submitted proposals to the Microsoft's Imagine Cup this year. 100 were selected for interviews, and 24 made the semi-final round of judging that was undertaken by a panel of Microsoft and industry volunteer judges, at the University of Auckland.

In the Imagine Cup teams of students (usually at the tertiary/university level) compete to build innovative and world-changing applications using Microsoft technology.

Historically, the Imagine Cup has required teams to address a global problem, such as a social, medical or ecological issue, with their solution. Last year, two additional categories were introduced, allowing students to compete in the fields of ‘Innovation’ and ‘Games’ in addition to the previous sole category of ‘World Citizenship’.

The overall winner across all three categories, Team InfinityTek with its UVSense application (World Citizenship category), will travel to St. Petersburg in Russia to represent New Zealand.

The 23 other finalists (including the two other first-place category winners and the three second-place category winners) will enter into a further round of judging online, where any of those teams may be selected to represent New Zealand in St. Petersburg in addition to the overall winner chosen at the New Zealand finals.

The category winners, announced Monday night, were:

Category: World Citizenship

The World Citizenship winner is the app with the greatest potential to make a positive contribution to the betterment of humanity.

First Place ($6,000): InfinityTek

Overall Winner, will travel to St. Petersburg, Russia to represent NZ in global Imagine Cup finals

Daniel Xu, Jacky Zhen, Ming Cheuk and Muthu Chidambaram

University of Auckland

Team InfinityTek’s ‘UVsense’ product uses a custom-developed wristband sensor to monitor UV exposure and wirelessly communicate that data to a Windows 8 smartphone. The goal is to allow people to manage their skin cancer risk – according to the Ministry of Health, the most common form of cancer in New Zealand.

Second Place ($2,000): APPortunists

Haley Littlewood, Jess Howse, Kieran Thomson and Michael Watson

University of Waikato

Team APPortunists developed a medical system accessible via web browsers and smartphones that allows the capture and maintenance of medical records in the developing world. Records are available to both patients and health professionals. The system also tracks vaccinations, and can notify patients when they’re due.

Category: Innovation

The innovation category winner is the most innovative, ground-breaking and appealing app built with Microsoft tools & technology. Unlike the World Citizenship category, apps can be designed purely with business, personal or entertainment value.

First Place ($6,000): My Storyteller

Brian Cole, Ersin Buckley, Marcel Beetz and Shawnee Kitson

University of Waikato

The My Storyteller app for Windows 8 lets parents pre-record stories as videos, so they can ‘read to’ their children even while at work or travelling. Customisable stories are provided by the application, and parents are given ‘karaoke style’ prompts to read while recording. Children can read along on-screen as the video is played back to them.

Second Place ($2,000): AquaFORCE

Carl Crawford, Daniel Hampton, David Jackson and Fiorenzo Rutschmann

Otago Polytechnic

Team AquaFORCE’s product is a cloud-based approach to aquarium management. It stores data gathered from existing aquarium-monitoring hardware, and makes it accessible to users via a cross-platform app for smartphones and tablets.

Category: Games

The winner is the best game app built on a Microsoft platform.

First Place ($6,000): QuakeTown

Jason Lau, Auckland University of Technology, Tobias Sveaas and Zain Ali

University of Auckland

QuakeTown is a drag-and-drop construction game for Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 devices. Players create earthquake-resistant structures using a variety of real-world materials, meeting certain design goals, material and cost limitations. Once the structure is designed, the player shakes the device (or uses the keyboard for non-accelerometer devices) to simulate an earthquake of a given magnitude and see how their structure holds up using realistic physics calculations.

Second Place ($2,000): 2150 A.D.

Ada Shou and Ray Jiang,

University of Auckland

2150 A.D. is a top-down space-shooter, with varied mission objectives, enemy behaviour and upgrade paths. The game is already available in the Windows Phone Marketplace, where it has received high ratings and a large number of downloads. At the time of writing, the game was being downloaded over 1,000 times per day.

Harley Ogier sat on the judges panel for the Games category of this year’s Imagine Cup finals.

The author @harleyogier is reviews editor of PC World New Zealand.

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