Microsoft Imagine Cup

A team of IT Sligo students, Killian Mc Cormack, (Sligo) Damien Fee, (Fermanagh), Linzi Ryan, (Dublin) and Gabriel Cioflica, (Romania) were today (February 28, 2013) crowned winners of the Irish finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013.

The students won with their innovative solution to support the physical and social needs of older people in their homes through technology.

The system the team designed uses a windows phone, Skype and Kinect to enhance TV systems to provide online physical fitness classes as well as a revolutionary new idea called ‘TAG TV’, which allows an older person to watch TV with peers of family remotely. The design also incorporates a notification system which can sends an alert from the person’s home should they encounter a problem or difficulty. The finals were hosted by Microsoft as part of their National App and Gaming Conference which was held in The Aviva Stadium.

The team was supported by computing lecturer Padraig Harte. Padraig also worked with Team Hermes, who in 2011 won the Irish finals of the competition and then went on to be the first team from Ireland to win the global finals, beating 350,000 registrants from around the world.

Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. It provides an opportunity for student technologists, developers, and aspiring entrepreneurs from all academic backgrounds to collaborate, develop a technology application, create a business plan and gain a keen understanding of what they need to bring their concept to market.

To inspire more students and encourage a wider variety of aspiring innovators to participate, Microsoft redesigned Imagine Cup around three new core competitions – World Citizenship, Games and Innovation – and more than doubled the prize money to US$300,000. 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.

Speaking at the Imagine Cup finals, Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland, said: “By hosting this year’s Imagine Cup Irish finals as part of our National App and Gaming Conference, we wanted to highlight to the students the opportunities available to them by having the skills they have as developers. At today’s’ finals it was great to see so many students from across this country showcasing their innovative cloud based solutions which they’ve developed.”

The winning team follows in the footsteps of Team Hermes,  2011’s overall Imagine Cup winners. Team Hermes designed a device they hoped could reduce road deaths by monitoring dangerous driving behaviour and road conditions, and providing instant feedback. The project has developed into a small business based in IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre, called CleverMiles, with original team member James McNamara in the role of CTO. “The Imagine Cup is a great competition and provided us with the start we needed to turn our idea in a business concept,” said McNamara. “We’ve spent the last two years developing and testing our concept. We believe there is a real need for a product like CleverMiles.”

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