Microsoft headquarters in Redmond hosted the 16th annual Microsoft Imagine World Cup July 23-25.
Imagine Cup is a global competition that empowers the next generation of computer science students to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications that shape how people live, work and play.
Forty-nine finalist teams from across the world competed for the chance to win up to $100,000 and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Canada-based smartARM won this year’s Imagine Cup with their prosthetic robotic hand.
Using Microsoft Azure’s computer vision, machine learning and cloud storage, smartARM is a robotic hand that uses a camera embedded in the palm to recognize objects and calculate the most appropriate grip for the object.
“We really wanted to use the current advances in AI and machine learning to improve a person’s quality of life,” smartARM team member Hamayal Choudhry said in a pre-recorded video. “We saw that a really big problem right now is that despite there being these really cool prosthetic devices, they’re so expensive.”
California-based Pengram was a semifinalist team in the competition. Pengram is an augmented reality/virtual reality platform that allows engineers from around the world to be able to show other engineers how to perform repairs on a device in 3-D.
Will Huang, a Pengram team member, said he was inspired to create the platform after he became frustrated while trying to communicate how to repair their router over the phone.
Pengram did not place in the top three finalists, but did win the mixed-reality award, which is one of three special $15,000 prizes awarded to teams who demonstrate innovative and creative ideas in artificial intelligence, big data and mixed reality.
Loro was one of the many finalist teams in the competition. Based in Massachusetts, Loro is a platform for providing a smart companion robot for wheelchair users. Loro is designed to provide users with intelligent navigation, health monitoring, social interaction and smart home connectivity through integrating several technologies such as universally a mountable 360-degree camera, laser pointer, flashlight, alarm system and a user-friendly interface.
Inspired by Stephen Hawking, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and relied on technology to communicate and connect with the world, Loro’s mission is to provide physical, social and emotional benefits to its users and their environments.
David Hojah, a Loro team member, said the device will equip people with disabilities to better “communicate, control and connect with the world and be independent and free.”
For more information about the Microsoft Imagine World Cup or the teams who participated, visit imaginecup.microsoft.com/en-us.