Three students of Haute Ecole de la Province de Liège were welcomed yesterday afternoon by the French speaking Minister-President Demotte, because of their place in the finals at Microsoft’s international contest, Imagine Cup. The three developed a way to teach sign language using consumer electronics. Beginning of July they’re leaving for Sydney Australia to defend their project against students from all over the world.

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Imagine Cup is a worldwide contest by Microsoft, challenging students to develop a technological solution to a yearly changing theme. This year’s challenge was: “to solve the hardest problems in the world through the use of technology.” There are eight different categories to which the students can subscribe. The three students from Liège - Antoine Trippaers, Julien Rousselle and Nicolas Bertrand – wrote their solution ‘Make A Sign’ for the category ‘software design’

“With the help of Neomytic, we developed a platform where you can easily learn sign language. The application is twofold: sign language teachers can save the signs, in their preferred language, in to a database – sign language students can practice the sign in their preferred language in a user friendly environment.” So says Antoine Trippaers of the Make A Sign team. “Through Kinect technology and a self-developed glove, the movements of the hand and finger are capitated. The movement is saved in the Cloud in a Windows Azure environment. The teaching of sign language can be done either PC-based, with immediate auto-correction or through a Windows Phone. This way anyone can learn the right signs at any given moment. No more excuses for communicating with deaf or bad hearing people.”

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The solution of the three from Liège was selected in an online global competition as the best team of over 150 submissions. This makes it a big honor in defending the Belgian colors in Sydney, even more because not all countries have a representative in the competition. “In Sydney only the best will meet the best” says Lieve Goedhuys, responsible at Microsoft BeLux for Imagine Cup, among other things. “The students of Haute Ecole Provinciale Liege will compete against 71 other teams from all over the world. Cross all categories there are 104 teams present in the finals. One of them is also the team from Howest in Kortrijk, already sending a finalist to Imagine Cup for the sixth time. In any case, it displays an image of our high esteemed technology-education in Belgium. We’ll be rooting for both Liège as Kortrijk in Syndney.”

Conclusion: support our Belgians in their quest for victory. Mr. Demotte did, will you?

You can help them win the People’s choice award by voting here.