Informatics and University of Colombo School of Computing victorious at Imagine Cup 2014

Monday, 28 April 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Three teams – Firebirds and Silver Chasers from Informatics, and Fat and Thin Studios from University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) – emerged victors at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2014 local competition, held at the Engineering Faculty of the picturesque Peradeniya University last week. The Imagine Cup, which has become Sri Lanka’s premier student technology competition, had 14 teams competing in the final round this year. The final round held at the DHPL Auditorium in Colombo had representatives from key educational institutions from across the island participating with teams from University of Sabaragamuwa, University of Colombo School of Computing, University of Moratuwa, University of Rajarata and Informatics institute of Technology, presenting projects under the categories of ‘World Citizenship’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘Games’ to an elite panel of judges consisting industry experts and business leaders. The winners this year under the Innovation Category were the Firebirds from Informatics who presented the project ‘Dream Mode’, which was a device to help people to dream what they desire as well as being a preventive for insomnia. Team Silver Chasers also from Informatics won under the Citizenship category presenting a project titled ‘Find Me’ which was a parental monitoring device comprising a mobile chip as well as a mobile app. The winners under the Gaming category was ‘Fat and Thin Studios’ from UCSC who presented project ‘Bird Academy’ which was a mobile game which uses the tilts and the motions of one’s touch phone in a fun way. Teams from the University of Moratuwa, Informatics, UCSC and University of Peradeniya were first and second runners up in the three different categories with a tie for the second runner up in the World Citizenship category. Global competition The three winners will compete against their global competition, when they make their submissions at the global online competition in June this year. The ‘World Citizenship Category’ encouraged participants to build a software application that would change lives of people globally and make a positive contribution to the betterment of humanity. The category was judged under the parameters of impact, feasibility and execution. The Innovation category was judged on meeting the challenge of creating the incredible, world changing, next big invention which could have been based on a totally new idea or evolving from an already existing one. The Games category was judged on meeting the challenge of creating the next great game with the capacity to take the world by storm. If any or all three projects get a place in the online competition, the selected teams will go on to showcase their groundbreaking innovations built using Microsoft Technology and devices, at the Imagine Cup 2014 Global Awards to be held in Seattle later this year. World cup winners in all three categories will receive price money in the region of $ 50,000, the highest awarded at this competition up to date. Along with Imagine Cup 2014, 3 global online challenges were also carried out under the categories of ‘Pitch Video Challenge’, ‘Project Blueprint Challenge’ and ‘User Experience Challenge’ in which Sri Lanka had the highest number of participation globally with 52 teams of which 13 teams won honourable mentions. The Online Challenges gave teams the chance to explore the Software Development Lifecycle, through innovative pitch videos, project blueprints, and user experience design. Imagine Cup, which was first introduced to Sri Lanka in 2005 has garnered much enthusiasm from local universities and private higher education institutions, the competition provides students the opportunity to launch their careers, take initial steps to becoming entrepreneurs and gain valuable information and experience both locally and internationally. Microsoft also offers up-to-the-minute technology to Sri Lankan students to hone their skills to be part of this competition, which has greatly improved the quality of projects presented by local teams each year. Professional sophistication Microsoft Sri Lanka Director – Developer Platform Evangelism Wellington Perera, commenting on the national competition, said that the competitors have acquired professional sophistication in the fields of technology and commercial viability over the years. “This year, 91 teams comprising of over 600 students from state universities and private education institutions in Sri Lanka participated in the local competition and the online challenges. But what is overwhelming is to see how these student teams have evolved over the years. Their professional approach in terms of presenting the marketability of their innovations has greatly improved. The participants have presented impressive business plans, which target the global market. Also, the emphasis on using not only technology but the heavy use of devices was very apparent this year. The Cloud First and Device First theme of Microsoft was strongly evident in all the projects presented this year. Looking at the submissions, I believe that Sri Lanka stands a very good chance of winning against international competition and I am very proud of their achievements,” he said. The International Imagine Cup Competition also offers a competitive grants program for all world finalist teams. Winners of the grants will be determined based on several criteria at the global competition. Each team who wins a grant will receive a cash gift depending on the team’s business plan and project scope.  In addition to that, they will also receive software to support the implementation of their solution along with mentorship by a Microsoft representative in the winner’s country.