Congratulations to Team Mobile Eye from AUT for taking out the 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup. It was an intense competition this year, with four very strong teams making it through to the finals, Thought-Wired, Connect, Aura and Mobile Eye. For those that attended I know you’d agree that the competition was massive – thanks for making Microsoft Imagine Cup is the premier student competition in New Zealand.

Mobile Eye will go on to represent New Zealand at the worldwide finals in Sydney in July. I was lucky enough to attend last year’s competition in New York and it was an amazing experience with hundreds of students from all over the globe coming together to use technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems. The NZ finals were amazing and I know our Australian friends are going to put on a memorable event in Sydney.

Thanks to all our teams, participants, helpers, supporters, judges and everyone involved. For more detail check out my post on the NZGovTech blog.

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And the winners were…

First Place – Team Mobile Eye

· Auckland University of Technology

Visual impairment is a significant health problem across the globe. Every 5 seconds one person in the world goes blind. Although 80 percent of visual impairment is preventable, for the 45 million blind people across the globe, prevention is no longer the cure. In New Zealand, the number of blind people is projected to grow from 12,000 today, to as much as 18,000 in 2020. Vision loss robs people of their well-being and presents a significant economic cost.  We have developed software designed to provide assistance to blind New Zealanders. The application, Mobile Eye, is designed to provide the user with an added richness of information. It can take on a multitude of uses simply based on the needs of the user. It is the team’s intention that this technology will assist the individual in the areas of navigation, shopping and even simple day to day activities that can benefit from a greater awareness of surroundings.

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Second Place – Team Thought-Wired

· The University of Auckland

Thought-Wired NOUS is an integrated solution designed to restore abilities to those who lack them. Its primary function is to empower individuals with severe physical disabilities in communication and interaction capacities. It allows people who are unable to speak to communicate with anybody using the mind alone. Using NOUS individuals with disabilities can communicate with their family and friends offline in their place of residence or anywhere else as well as online over the Internet. Besides communication, NOUS opens unlimited possibilities for our users via extensible platform. Additional capabilities can be anything from controlling simple devices at home to education, mobility and entertainment applications.

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Third Place – Team Aura

· The University of Auckland

A non-invasive Infrared Imaging solution to detect abnormalities in breathing. Team Aura is set to revolutionise the diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA affects 1.2 billion people worldwide, and an Aura module consists of an advanced algorithm that detects breathing patterns of a patient through innovative monitoring technology. This information can then be easily accessed by medical professionals and patients alike through the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform, allowing the improved efficient diagnosis of OSA.

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Fourth Place – Team Connect

· The University of Auckland

Transparent Communication Network (TCN) - Christchurch earthquake, Japan tsunami, Thailand flooding. 2011 was known as the year of disasters – what do they have in common? Immediate communication failure.  If you’re in a disaster zone, the first thing you’ll want to do is connect with loved ones; and that goes for everyone else around you. High traffic causes massive congestion to any remaining cell towers and telcos often struggle to keep communication up and running for days, or even weeks. As the first 72 hours are crucial, any downtime can be catastrophic.   We are developing a communication system that, unlike traditional solutions, will respond immediately in the critical hours following a disaster. Our solution will keep you connected to loved ones when you need them the most.

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