In TIME magazine's Tech website, they've recently published the Best Inventions of the Year 2012, which includes indoor clouds, a drifting fish farm, the MakerBot Replicator 2, the Tesla Model S and Enable Talk gloves.
The fact that the Enable Talk gloves are in TIME's Best Inventions of the Year 2012 list is amazing because of the back story.
They were created by four Ukrainian university students as their entry to the Imagine Cup, to allow speech and hearing impaired people to communicate more easily. The gloves contain sensors that recognise sign language and translate it into text on a Windows Phone, and from that into spoken words. So they quite literally allow somebody with speech impairments to talk – without the listeners having to learn sign language.
The four students were the Ukrainian team that entered into the global Imagine Cup, which Microsoft run.
The Imagine Cup 2011 provided me with one of my most inspiring days of 21011, so it was fantastic to see the global finals for the Imagine Cup come to Sydney in 2012 – with teams from 75 countries competing to win the Imagine Cup. And I was lucky enough to be there at Imagine Cup 2012 as a staff volunteer, watching these inspiring students pitch their ideas to a worldwide bank of judges, and to aim to beat the other 300,000 students who entered, to be crowned as winners of the Imagine Cup.
The Ukrainian's eventually won the Software Design category with their project, and obviously impressed more than just the Imagine Cup judging panel.
I've always been a fan of the Imagine Cup, and it's power to help students take the world stage of innovation – and to see a small group of dedicated students go from competitors to appearing on a TIME Magazine list of 'Best Of…' is just amazing!
To see Enable Talk in action, watch their video from the Imagine Cup finals, below and find out more about the team at enabletalk.com
The 2013 Imagine Cup is in Russia, and the wording on some of the advertising for it now makes absolute sense in the context of the story above!
The worldwide finals for the Imagine Cup 2013 are going to be held in St Petersburg, Russia. And they are open to teams of four students from high-schools, TAFEs and universities around the world (students must be 16+). Teams must register by March next year, and the Australian judging finals will take place by April 2013 – they'll pick the team to represent Australia in St Petersburg.
Do you know any students who are ready to start their journey, and perhaps make it onto TIME's list of Best Innovations of 2013?
Find out more about the Imagine Cup 2013, and how to enter