Introducing the Imagine Cup Asia Regional Champions: Team Caeli from India

We are excited to introduce the winners of the Asia Regional Final! Team Caeli won top honors for their automated anti-pollution and drug delivery mask which utilizes Azure Machine Learning to improve quality of life for respiratory patients living in polluted areas. 

At its core, Microsoft Imagine Cup has a mission to empower student developers to achieve more and create the next great technology solutions for the chance to win cash, prizes, mentoring, and travel. We believe that with student innovation and creativity, partnered with Microsoft technologies and Azure cloud resources, the possibilities are endless.

The first out of three Regional Final events kicked off this weekend at Ignite | The Tour. Asia regional competitors were challenged to submit an original technology project utilizing Azure, and hundreds of teams were evaluated in the preliminary Online Semifinals round. 12 finalists were selected to move forward to the in-person Asia Regional Finals. The finalist teams traveled to Sydney, Australia on February 11 and participated in an Entrepreneurship Day and Ignite | The Tour activities to learn how to take their project to the next level and integrate the latest and greatest technologies into their solutions. Their experience culminated in giving a live demo of their Imagine Cup projects to a panel of judges and the top three were selected.   

Team Caeli will advance to the Imagine Cup World Championship this May, where they will compete against the winners of the EMEA and Americas Regional finals for a chance at USD100,000 and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Follow the action on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with the competition.


1st placeCaeli, India

Caeli is a smart automated anti-pollution and drug delivery mask specifically designed for asthmatic and chronic respiratory patients. Caeli implements breakthrough features and Azure Machine Learning in a portable format to improve the quality of life for respiratory patients living in polluted areas.

Prize: USD15,000 and a spot in the Imagine Cup World Championship

RailinNova Second Place.jpg

2nd placeRailinNova, China

The team developed a Rail Component Inspection Robot which operates through automatic positioning using AI and IoT, and identifies various railroad defects through multi-sensor fusion in order to replace the number of workers needed in a rail inspection project. The results can be processed in real-time to identify possible defect areas.

Prize: USD5,000

AidUSC Third Place.jpg

3rd placeAidUSC, Philippines 

The team developed Aqua Check, which utilizes Microsoft Azure’s Custom Vision to empower anyone to analyze for contamination by taking a photo of a water sample through a microscope. Using Azure Web and Azure Maps, the project can map contamination locations.

Prize: USD1,000

Congratulations to all the Asia Regional Finalists for all their incredible innovations this year. Do you want to build the skills necessary to bring your technology solution to the next Imagine Cup? Get started learning Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Mixed Reality and more with Azure for Students.


Imagine Cup 2018: AI inspires next generation of developers

This post is authored by Nile Wilson, Software Engineer Intern at Microsoft.

Imagine Cup 2018 winning teams: smartARM (first place, front and center),
iCry2Talk (second place, attired in pink), and Mediated Ear (third place, at the right).

Every year, Microsoft hosts the Imagine Cup, a global competition bringing together creative, bright, and motivated students to develop technologies that will shape how we live, work, and play. This year, tens of thousands of students from across the world registered for the competition, but only 49 teams were selected to compete in the World Finals. In addition to the first, second and third place winners, this year’s competition also awarded the top projects in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Mixed Reality.

Of the 49 finalists, team smartARM won the competition with their innovative, inexpensive, AI-enabled prosthetic hand. The team was comprised of Samin Khan from the University of Toronto and Hamayal Choudhry from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Although smartARM took home the top prize, all teams in the finals impressed the judges with their creativity and drive to have a positive impact on the world.

One other thing most all the winning teams had in common – they used AI as a core part of their solutions.

Recent developments have accelerated the application of machine learning technologies across a wide variety of fields, from self-driving cars to AI-guided disease detection. There was a palpable sense of excitement around the profound and untapped capabilities of AI among the teams that participated at this year’s Imagine Cup.

“AI is empowerment.”
Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President and CTO of AI, Microsoft

Winning AI Solutions

From helping farmers manage diseased plants to helping new parents identify the meaning of their babies’ cries, the Imagine Cup 2018 winners tackled a broad spectrum of problems. Although these solutions addressed different problems, their paths to success have a similar underlying structure – each team began by identifying a problem they were passionate about. Next, they carefully considered the resources available to them, including AI, and cleverly used those resources to build prototypes and solutions with potentially outsized impact. AI is truly in the mainstream now, empowering motivated individuals to turn their great ideas into reality and have impact on the world.


Team SmartARM from Canada won the first place with their AI-infused robotic prosthetic arm, which is designed to provide users with a low-cost, multi-grip prosthesis. When individuals with upper-limb amputations decide whether they want to use a functional prosthesis, they are typically faced with the choice of purchasing a simple, single-grip arm or spending tens of thousands of dollars on a more advanced myoelectric arm. The high cost of advanced prostheses prevents many from having access to a device that could greatly aid in their day-to-day life. smartARM reduces this barrier by providing multi-grip functionality for approximately $100.

The smartARM on the stage of the Imagine Cup 2018 World Finals.

The trick to the low price achieved by SmartARM is the use of 3D printing and readily accessible low-cost cloud technology. The camera in the palm of the smartARM captures a video of whatever is in view of the arm. Once the user points the palm towards an object of interest, the video frames are sent to the Azure cloud where the Cognitive Services Custom Vision model helps to identify the object and returns most appropriate grip, based on the object’s size and shape. The grip determined by the model is then actuated on the smartARM once the user sends the activation signal.

This allows users to interact with a variety of objects, ranging from picking up house keys to holding a cup.

It’s a truly intriguing solution, the notion of integrating a camera and vision into a prosthetic arm. In a companion blog post, we plan to big a bit deeper into the smartARM story and the underlying technology. Meanwhile, to learn more about smartARM, you can visit their Imagine Cup team page and LinkedIn company page.


Team iCry2Talk from Greece won second place with their mobile app, which is designed to aid parents in identifying the needs of their crying baby. New parents and especially parents with hearing-impairments or mothers with postpartum depression often have difficulties when it comes to immediately identifying the needs of their crying baby. This result is unwanted stress for both the parents and the child, typically multiple times each day.

Promptly responding to the cry is essential for the healthy physiological and psychosocial development of the infant. Although babies cannot articulate their needs through the use of language, they do give hints through their cries and body language. The cries themselves contain information that could help parents identify what the baby’s immediate needs are, but these cues can be hard for untrained ears to pick up.

Team iCry2Talk strives to improve the quality of the communication and the relationship between parents and babies by helping parents understand their child’s cries.

Mother and child looking at the iCry2Talk app. Photo courtesy of the iCry2Talk team.

How does the app work? The parent records the cry of their baby through the app using a smart phone or a digital assistant, like Alexa or Cortana. This audio clip is then sent to the cloud, processed, and classified using their custom Deep Learning models. The result is then sent back to the phone or digital assistant within seconds, and the parent is notified of the meaning of the cry through text, image, voice feedback, and sign language.

The team takes a holistic approach by not only focusing on the technology, but by also building and engaging with a community consisting of parents and doctors, in addition to designing for inclusivity, accessibility, and personalization.

iCry2Talk continues to collect donated audio clips of cries from parents involved in their community effort and is constantly improving their models. Parents with babies up to 12 months old who wish to contribute to the database and join the community can contact iCry2Talk through their Facebook page or e-mail them directly at

To learn more about iCry2Talk you can visit their Imagine Cup team page or their website.

Mediated Ear

Team Mediated Ear from Japan took the third place with their mobile app designed to help the hearing-impaired clearly hear the voice of specific persons in noisy environments. Individuals with hearing loss may use hearing aids to amplify sound, but often find it difficult to isolate single speakers in noisy environments. This can make conversations in public settings and meetings difficult as multiple people may be speaking at once. The team began to develop Mediated Ear when a friend of theirs with hearing loss talked about their challenges when communicating in noisy, multi-speaker environments.

Speaker registering their voice to be recognized by the Mediated Ear mobile app. Image courtesy of the Mediated Ear team.

Clearly isolating individual speakers from each other and from background noises is not a simple task. The team had to work hard to develop an approach that would reliably isolate individual speakers from a mixed audio source. Mediated Ear works as a smartphone application that listens to the current conversation and allows the user to adjust the volume for individual speakers played through their earphones.

To isolate a given speaker’s voice from other voices and background noise, the user hands the phone over to the speaker of interest and asks them to speak into the phone for one minute. After the speaker reads the passage displayed through the app, the audio file of the voice is sent into the cloud, where it is processed and fed into a modified WaveNet deep learning model. Once the model learns the speaker’s voice, the app allows the user to pick up on the speaker’s voice and selectively amplify it, making it easier for the user to understand what is being said and confidently engage in the conversation.

With Mediated Ear, people with hearing impairments have control over who they hear and have an easier time focusing on the people they want to listen to in noisy environments.

Want to learn more about Mediated Ear? Visit their Imagine Cup team page or their website.


Team SochWare from Nepal won the AI Award for their mobile app to help farmers identify plant diseases and take steps to mitigate crop damage. Agriculture plays a critical role in the livelihood of Nepal and its people, but difficulties in farming have led to a decline in agriculture. When farmers notice a diseased plant, it is often difficult to recognize what kind of disease the plant is inflicted with. The challenge of disease identification makes it hard to properly address the situation. Farmers often suffer losses when they either do not treat crops or apply improper chemicals to handle disease. There are also situations where excessive chemical use on crops leads to negative health effects on consumers.

Local farmer checking plant disease status with the E-Agrovet mobile app. Photo courtesy of the SochWare team.

Understanding the vitality of agriculture to their country and their families, Team SochWare decided to focus their efforts on developing a solution for this problem. Their solution takes the form of E-Agrovet, a mobile app that uses computer vision to help farmers identify plant disease and learn the proper next-steps for treatment.

How does E-Agrovet work? The farmer takes a photo of the plant of interest through the app. This photo is then sent to the cloud, processed, and fed into their Cognitive Services Custom Vision model. A report is generated based on the results of the Deep Learning image classification model and is sent back to the notification hub on the mobile phone. This report informs the farmer of what the disease is, how to mitigate it, and may also connect the farmer with experts to allow them to act.

Through E-Agrovet, SochWare strives to aid farmers and reduce the use of unnecessary chemicals on crops, improving the quality of life for everyone.

Want to learn more about SochWare? Visit their Imagine Cup team page or their website.


Team DrugSafe from India won the Big Data Award for their consumer-side and vendor-side apps that help fight the consumption and distribution of counterfeit drugs. The development all began when a friend was suddenly in a lot of pain. The team was surprised to find that their friend had unknowingly taken counterfeit drugs for his diabetes and suffering as a result. Upon further investigation, the team became aware of widespread drug counterfeiting, estimated to be a $75 billion industry in 2010, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Realizing the widespread prevalence and severity of fake medicine, and its role in the unnecessary spread of disease and suffering, the team sought to develop a solution. Because this is such a large-scale problem – one that affects both consumers and legitimate drug vendors – the DrugSafe team decided to develop both a consumer-side and vendor-side solution via mobile apps and an online dashboard.

The Drugsafe mobile app (consumer side). Image courtesy of the DrugSafe team.

What do these apps do?

The mobile app consists of a simple interface that allows users to take photos of drug labels to check for anomalies in the text and label color. The app sends the photo through a custom pipeline involving Azure Cosmos DB and Cognitive Services and notifies the user of the validity of the drug. Users have the option of reporting the drug if it is found to be illegitimate. Selecting to report the issue will take the user to the built-in chatbot to expedite the reporting process. The app also has a community component and can warn users about pharmacies that are seeing an increase in counterfeit drug selling.

The vendor app allows drug vendors to monitor the conditions of their deliveries using an MXChip IoT Board, to ensure that their drugs are delivered safely. The IoT board records information such as temperature, pressure, humidity, and acceleration, which can help vendors monitor the condition of their shipments.

Through the adoption and use of the DrugSafe app, the team hopes to reduce the spread of disease and help individuals gain access to authentic safe medication.

To learn more about DrugSafe you can visit their Imagine Cup team page.

The Impact of AI

The number and quality of AI-centric entries at this year’s Imagine Cup tells us that the next generation of developers recognize AI’s game-changing potential. Although each of these student projects addressed very different needs, teams took a holistic approach and appropriately infused their solutions with AI.

We are inspired by the boldness of these young innovators. Their work reinforces our own mission, to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”. We couldn’t be more excited to support the next generation of developers at future Imagine Cups and to see how their ideas – coupled with AI – will move and shake the world.

If you are interested to build your own intelligent solutions, we recommend getting started with the AI School – we have free tutorials that provide step-by-step instructions on how to build real world solutions on the Microsoft AI platform.



GeekWire: ‘Teleporting holograms, a belt for fetal health, and more at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup student contest’

Team Pengram. From left to right: Bill Zhou, Will Huang, Vedant Saran. (Microsoft Photo)

Bill Zhou wanted to be able to help his mom fix the WiFi router when she called. The only problem? He was at school in Berkeley, Calif., and she was not.

“So I try to send her links online or send her videos or try to do a phone call with her, but it’s not really clear,” Zhou said. “And sometimes I wish I could just teleport my presence back home just for five minutes, show her what’s going on, and then teleport back to Berkeley to do whatever I’m doing.”

That personal desire was part of the inspiration for Pengram, an augmented reality tool for remotely assisting and collaborating on projects such as fixing equipment or assembling furniture. The Pengram team, made up of University of California, Berkeley graduate students Zhou, Vedant Saran, and Will Huang, will be one of 49 teams competing in the world finals of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup student competition starting Monday in the Seattle region. Imagine Cup brings together high school and college students who are “innovating and addressing some of humanity’s biggest problems.”

Pengram uses both augmented and virtual reality to “holographically teleport” an expert to assist on a task involving a physical object in another location. The expert, wearing a virtual reality device, can work in the virtual world on a virtual model of the object that needs fixing, such an engine. Whatever the expert does to that virtual engine will be reflected on the other person’s side, except in augmented reality, with an avatar representing the expert demonstrating on the physical object.

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“The operator will be able to see the expert as if he was actually there,” Zhou said.

Saran said the platform uses Microsoft Azure to deliver the content via the HoloLens device. Pengram allows users to watch experts in real-time or in previously recorded videos.

Though personal use was one part of the team’s vision for Pengram, inspiration also came from what the team noticed businesses needed. Companies worked with much more complicated machines, like wind turbines or locomotive engines. Zhou said that often, to repair the machines, they would have to fly out an expert because field technicians wouldn’t know how to fix them.

“So what they’re looking for is actually a remote assistance solution where the expert can teleport their presence to the field to assist their technicians anywhere in the world,” Zhou said.

Pengram has worked with companies like smartphone maker HTC to explore the possible uses for the platform. Zhou explained that any company could use Pengram’s capabilities in a unique way suited to their needs. HTC, which supports trade schools in China, finds pre-recorded assistance helpful in training students.

Flashes of Pengram’s capability can be seen in Microsoft’s own Holoportation project, which Microsoft revealed in 2016. Holoportation, like Pengram, uses the HoloLens as a tool to holographically transport 3D models into a physical space in real time, as if all participants were in the same space. In another demonstration, Microsoft showed how someone using a tablet in one location could annotate the real world for someone using a HoloLens in another, such as a plumber showing a homeowner how to fix a sink.

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The Pengram team, who have known each other for three years and met through the VR@Berkeley club when they were undergraduates, began the project at a Cal Hacks hackathon a year-and-a-half ago. Pengram won the Microsoft Imagine Cup U.S. Finals to advance to the world finals.

On the other side of the world in Pakistan, Iqra Irfan, Areeba Kamil, and Sami Ullah are developing a wearable belt that monitors fetal health. The team, named Fe Amaan, consists of three undergraduates in their last year at the National University of Sciences and Technology. They wanted to tackle Pakistan’s miscarriage and stillbirth problem, which they described as one of their home country’s biggest issues.

“One of the major issues we found in the healthcare facilities in our country is that there is not enough access to facilities for expecting women,” Kamil said. “And the women who have to suffer the most are women in rural areas, and then they become the target of stillbirths. Later on we also realized that this problem is not just confined to Pakistan, but it’s also a worldwide issue.”

Fe Amaan works as a remote fetal monitoring device, helping ease the consequences of a lack of access to medical facilities. The belt and corresponding Internet of Things sensor device, which sits on the mother’s abdomen, can monitor fetal movements and heart rate. It sends the data to a mobile app, which analyzes it and generate alerts if it detects any anomalies. The device uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to host its applications and to predict the state of the fetus in advance, based on the data gathered.

The Fe Amaan team. From left to right: Areeba Kamil, Sami Ullah, and Iqra Irfan. (Microsoft Photo)

The hope is that precautionary measures can then be taken before it’s too late.

“We believe it’s the right of every woman to have good medical facilities and we want to make sure it’s our aim to eliminate the risk of having a stillbirth,” Irfan said.

The three have were friends prior to the project, and decided to work on Fe Amaan as part of their senior projects for university. Fe Amaan has gone through clinical trials, which the team cites as the most difficult part of the process. The team participated in the Pakistan national finals and won the Middle East and Africa finals to advance to the world finals.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals will take place in Seattle next week, from July 23 to 25. The annual student technology and innovation competition requires participants to submit their software, instructions, and give live presentations on the team, the project, the target market, and how the team plans to bring the project to market.

Forty-nine teams, including Pengram and Fe Amaan, will compete on the world stage after winning national and regional competitions throughout the year. The winning team will get $100,000 and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

This year’s Imagine Cup, the 16th annual competition, includes awards for projects in artificial intelligence, big data, and mixed reality. The judges include Microsoft executive vice president of business development Peggy Johnson, coding community Glitch CEO Anil Dash, and software package management company Bitnami co-founder and COO Erica Bresica. Snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim will also be a special invited guest at the competition.


Meet Europe’s challengers for the $100,000 prize in Microsoft Imagine Cup 2018

From environmental sustainability, protecting human rights, empowering the disabled and disadvantaged, driving up literacy rates and much more, technological innovation has the power to make our world a better place.

That’s where initiatives like Microsoft’s Imagine Cup come in – helping to encourage the brightest and best students to develop world-changing technology projects by unlocking their creativity.

Founded in 2003, it’s now the world’s biggest student technology competition, with tens of thousands of students participating from around the world each year.

This year, the global final will take place in Seattle on 25 July, with the first prize of $100,000, mentorship opportunities and Azure credits all to play for.

The winners will be awarded $100,000, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, a $120,000 Azure Grant and a trip to next year’s Build developer conference.

The Europeans are coming
Europe has long been a hotbed of computing talent. From “father of AI”, Alan Turing, to World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Nikola Tesla, the Lumière brothers and more, leading figures from the region have contributed to some of history’s most thrilling technology innovations. Now it’s time for the next generation to step out of the shadows.

So, who’s competing from Europe? Let’s take a look at the 14 teams travelling to Seattle and the projects they’ll be hoping to wow the judges with.

Team TBC (Belarus)
This project uses a neural network to determine psychogeometric characteristics of a person from photographs, which allows more effective communication according to their individual characteristics, with a focus on business and sales settings. The use-case is to help companies hire the right students by sophisticated data-driven algorithms based on psychology, face/gestures-recognition and company culture assessment. The algorithms can also be used to help out the service industry to better communicate with customers based on psycho-type and emotion detection in real time.

Read more

Theatrall (France)
Theatrall aims to make theaters accessible for everyone through simple software available on smartglasses, smartphones or tablets, which will display the production subtitles in the language chosen by the user. The goal is to make theatre experiences accessible for everyone, such as people with hearing impairments, non-native language speakers, or simply for those wishing for subtitles.

Read more

Soul Sailor (Germany)
Soul Sailor is a platform that provides psychological care for refugees and asylum seekers, including a chatbot to help individuals process their experiences while seeking refuge. Soul Sailor supports refugees dealing with mental illnesses such as PTSD or depression by providing psychological care and eliminating factors out of their surroundings which contribute to their issues. The platform is powered by an AI and data-driven digital companion called Mayu, who interacts with the user via speech and helps them express their experiences and worries. In addition, the system also allows fled relatives who have been separated to communicate with a novel event-based network solution.

Read more

NASC (Germany)
NASC is a web app that allows you to search for news articles on the web, attempts to evaluate sentiments in those articles and then visualizes the results. The goal is to encourage people interested in politics and other important topics and events to go beyond the first search result and to look at multiple articles that express different views about the same topic. To achieve this, NASC offers three different result views. The Map view helps portray geographical differences in the attitude towards a given issue. The Timeline view visualizes the development of the sentiment towards an issue over time, and the List view provides a familiar user interface similar to regular search engines and shows more details at first glance than the other, more specialized views.

Read more

Pavo (Germany)
Pavo Vision makes digital content accessible to visually impaired users, by utilizing advanced AI, Cloud Computing and the power of the community. Visual content in websites, documents, and other digital assets gets analyzed and equipped with a description of the visual for visually impaired users by the Pavo Vision System. Mistakes in the analysis can be reported by the Pavo community to train the system, making the models smarter over time. The Pavo Vision system is currently available as a browser plugin, with future support for Microsoft Teams planned.

Read more

StudySmarter (Germany)
StudySmarter is an intelligent learning platform, designed to help students achieve their educational goals and graduate from university. The platform digitizes the entire learning process, making it more efficient, structured and engaging. Machine learning algorithms accompany the student through the entire learning experience by automating or creating learning materials such as summaries, mind maps or flashcards with just a few clicks. In addition, the student is automatically connected with fellow students.StudySmarter not only saves time learning, but also boosts motivation.

Read more

iCry2Talk (Greece)
iCry2Talk proposes a low-cost and non-invasive intelligent interface between infants and parents. Baby’s cries are translated in real-time, being associated with specific physiological and psychological states. Results are depicted in text, image and voice messages. iCry2Talk believes that the efficient combination and analysis of different sources of information through advanced signal processing techniques and deep learning algorithms can provide meaningful and reliable feedback to parents.

Read more

Innobie (Hungary)
Innobie is a smartphone app to help students understand the curriculum they are reading in textbooks. The app projects a virtual augmented 3D image over 2D illustrations in books, and can help elementary students learn biology, chemistry, geography, history, and more. By allowing users to explore virtual objects from all angles, they can gain a deeper understanding for more complex subjects than a mere 2D image would be able to provide.

Read more

DeafKIT (Moldova)
DeafKIT is an automatic solution for sign-language translation based on neural networks. Translations are provided with video capturing to make communication easier and more effective, with up to 100% accuracy. The solution aims to be used on trading centres, social networks and more.

Read more

Wavy (Poland)
Wavy is an underwater locator for scuba divers which allows divers to track each other via a small device, which can prove to be vital during emergency situations. In addition to its safety benefits, the Diving Logbook feature tracks the route, depth and temperature of each dive. Diving bases can also measure the most popular routes to help recommend them to customers.

Read more

VisionX (Romania)
XVision is a system designed to automatically detect anomalies and diseases encountered anywhere in the human body with radiologist-level accuracy, just by analyzing common medical X-ray images with the help of the latest Azure AI technologies such as Machine Learning. The system will provide a crucial solution for people in areas of the world that lack access to radiology diagnostics while also acting as an assistant tool for the medical experts examining radiographs.

Read more

Coffee Break (Russia)
Coffee Break utilises spectrometry in an innovative way by labeling tradeable goods. this amazing tool in the business for labeling of tradable goods. The solution can be used in a variety of ways, such as counterfeit detection, by comparing goods to the known qualities of their genuine counterparts. The tool can also be used to track expensive items such as wine.

Read more

InterviewBot (UK)
InterviewBot is a web-based application tailored to aid students with video or physical interviews when applying for jobs by providing real-time feedback on interview-style questions. Companies can also use this tool to assess their candidates’ performance, while a written transcript allowing employers to dissect interviews in detail. It uses facial analysis and speech recognition to offer real-time feedback on facial expressions during practice interviews, informing users whether their style is positive, neutral, or negative.

Read more

Black Light (UK)
Black Light’s project, Firepoint, is a First-Person mixed reality simulator, built around helping firefighters explain and display what their daily work environment is like without putting anyone at risk. The simulator allows users to see through the eyes of a firefighter as they make their way through a multi-story training ground with a variety of different encounters to tackle. The goal is to use this tool to help firefighters in community outreach, recruitment, and training.

Read more

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It’s almost time! Imagine Cup 2018 Championship judges and special guest announced

Last October, I announced the 16th annual Imagine Cup competition, which gives college and university students the opportunity to test their intellectual, creative and teamwork skills while using technology to change the world. Forty-nine teams who have won their National Finals are now well underway in getting their solutions ready to compete at the World Finals, which will be held July 23-25 at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Last year, dozens of teams from nearly 40 countries were present at the World Finals, and this year is setting up to be just as exciting and diverse!

I love overseeing the Imagine Cup because it lets me interact with inspiring talent shaping the future and get to know incredible people along the way. Microsoft cares deeply about fostering careers in STEM, and I can’t think of a better way to give students the opportunity to take an idea from concept to completion, while also helping them acquire marketable skills they’ll be able to use throughout their careers. The work that comes out of Imagine Cup is innovative and life-changing — and often turns into full-fledged products!

Mug shot of Corey Sanders
Corey Sanders

This year’s Imagine Cup host is Corey Sanders, the corporate vice president for Azure Compute.

Corey’s no stranger to innovation — he holds four patents and was the creator of the Infrastructure-as-a-service offering for Azure.

Mug shot of Kate Yeager
Kate Yeager

And, last year’s emcee, Kate Yeager, is making a return appearance to call the action.

Judging the Imagine Cup is a big task, but this year’s judges are up for the challenge — all bringing a unique aspect of thought leadership to the table. The panel includes:

Mug shot of Peggy Johnson
Peggy Johnson

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft, who started her career as an engineer and found her way into business development, merging her technical expertise and business savvy to become Microsoft’s “chief dealmaker.”

Mug shot of Anil Dash
Anil Dash

_ CEO of GlitchAnil Dash, who oversees the popular creative community for coders, and whose work as an entrepreneur, activist and writer reckons with the way technology transforms society, media and culture.

Erica Brescia
Erica Brescia

_ Co-founder and COO of Bitnami, Erica Brescia, an entrepreneur through-and-through with a “get it done” approach, she’s also an active investor via X Factor Ventures, funding amazing women founding extraordinary companies.

At the Imagine Cup Finals, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be in conversation with special guest Chloe Kim, the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal when she won the gold in the women’s snowboard halfpipe at age 17! Chloe is an outstanding example of a young person at the top of her game, much like the Imagine Cup participants are at the top of theirs.

Photo of Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim. Photo credit: Peter Morning

This year’s prize value of cash, travel and Azure credits totals more than $700,000, in addition to a mentoring session with Satya. Artificial intelligence, big data and mixed reality have special award prizes as well.

Want to see which team has the winning solution? You can watch the championship via live stream at at 9 a.m. PT, Wednesday, July 25.

I’m so excited to see what these remarkable students create this year. They are only bound by imagination, and as we’ve seen year after year, when given the opportunity to follow their imaginations, people can change the world.

P.S. Follow me on Twitter for updates on Imagine Cup and other news and noteworthy information in the cloud and ecosystem space.



Save the date – July 25 – for the 2018 Imagine Cup World Finals

This July, Microsoft will host bright student developer teams from across the world for the 16th annual Imagine Cup. Teams will travel to Redmond, Washington to showcase their technical innovations and compete for up to $100,000 USD, as well as a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. We are excited to announce the dates for the 2018 Imagine Cup World Finals!

Follow the action to learn more about the competing teams and tune in to see which teams will be announced as World Finalists!

July 23, 2018

The Imagine Cup World Finals kick-off at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington! The day starts with a Tech Showcase, where teams will pitch to multiple judges and the top-rated teams will move on to the next round. Imagine Cup Awards finalists in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Mixed Reality are chosen to vie for $15,000 USD.

July 24, 2018

The top 15 teams are announced and will move forward as Imagine Cup semifinalists. There is good news for all other teams – they will get a second shot in the wildcard round! The students vote which wildcard teams will be saved and have the opportunity to join the semifinals. Semifinalists present their projects to the judges, and the final 3 teams are chosen to compete in the World Championships.

July 25, 2018

Imagine Cup World Championships – Streamed Live! Tune in at 9:00am PST to watch the top 3 teams pitch to the judges, coming to you live from the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle. Who will win it all?

Save the date for the Imagine Cup World Finals to see who will win $100,000 and the glory of being the Imagine Cup champions!