Monday 30, May 2016

Kuwait – MENA Herald: Microsoft today announced the three winning teams of the Imagine Cup 2016 Pan Arab Semi-Finals which took place in Cairo from 27 to 29 May 2016. The third annual Pan Arab Semi-Finals saw Team Basilisk from Tunisia, Team Night’s Watch Tunisia and Team Vanguards from Bahrain winning in the Innovation, World Citizenship and Games categories, respectively. The winning teams will stand the chance to head to Seattle to represent the Arab World at the 14th Imagine Cup World Finals in July.
The Imagine Cup 2016 Pan Arab Semi-Finals hosted a record 150 students in 37 teams, representing 13 Arab countries. The event was held in partnership with The American University in Cairo, School of Business; PepsiCo; Renaissance Hotels; The Ministry of Telecommunication & Information Technology and EgyptAir
It was the culmination of a months-long series of contests at national level that brought together the brightest young minds from across the Arab World to showcase the power of innovation. Teams of up to four students were required to create an original technology project from start to finish: create an idea, make a plan, build the project and present it to judging panels at the Semi-Finals. They were assessed on criteria including concept, execution, use of technology, relevance to their chosen category and feasibility.
This year’s Imagine Cup Pan Arab Semi-Finals also hosted the #MakeWhatsNext Women Leadership Event. Stemming from Microsoft’s commitment to empowering women in technology and STEM, the event recognised successful women leaders and young role models across the Arab region. Three teams were awarded for their outstanding female participation at the Semi-Finals.
The winners of the competition will win a total of $30,000 between them.
“We saw strong teams from all participating countries this year, and there was a real balance of technical strength and business model validity,” comments Ali Faramawy, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Corporation and President, Microsoft Middle East & Africa (MEA). “We were pleased to see the teams innovating across Microsoft’s platforms and building solutions that enable people to do and achieve more through technology. The winning teams showed excellent team work and collaboration and developed new skills over the course of the competition, standing them in good stead for the finals in Seattle and their future careers in this industry. The high quality of the projects we have seen from all participants, indicates that many of them could be the start of real businesses that have the potential to contribute to the region’s prosperity.””
This year’s winning teams proved their competitive spirit with their inspiring entries.
Protect Me, by Team Basilisk, is a pressure and shear sensing technology, for people with diabetes. Some diabetic patients lose sensitivity and develop ulcers that can lead to amputation of the toe or foot. Protect Me contains micro sensors which measure pressure and shear forces on the defective part on the sole of the foot, providing on demand information, wirelessly, and ultimately avoiding any aggravation of ulcers. It also contain micro vibrators and transcutaneous electrical stimulants for reducing pain in the defective parts of the foot sole.
Smart Hand, by Team Night’s Watch Tunisia, is a prosthetic hand for people that have lost one or more of their limbs. It makes use of a Myo Armband and a phone app and allows the user to programme his smart hand using the app. The user will be able to grab items, shake hands and even use a mouse on a PC.
“Apollo-X”, by Team Vanguards, is a horror game that uses Virtual Reality, Biofeedback technology and a mobile phone. The game is adaptive and changes according to the player’s heart rate. As the player becomes more frightened, the scarier and more difficult the game becomes. This allows the player to become more aware of their feelings and will try to stay calm. The game also features a multiplayer mode that allows a player on a PC to cooperate with a player on a mobile. The two players take the role of the two main characters and need to overcome the challenges brought before them using a unique way of cross-platform play.
Ahmed El-Sheikh – Senior Vice President and General Manager, Egypt and Jordan Commercial Unit, says “The Imagine Cup 2016 competition unveiled diverse talents from the Arab region in the fields of Gaming, Innovation and citizenship and PepsiCo strongly believes in the importance of entrepreneurs and the SME sector’s role in shaping the future and solving the economic recession that Egypt is facing‎ these days.”‎
As a next step, each winning team must prepare to showcase their projects at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle. The competition inspires student developers from all over the world to create solutions that change the way we live, work and play, while also growing the skills they need to pursue a future in technology.
Team Night’s Watch Tunisia, is excited about the opportunity to potentially gain more experience from competing at the World Finals. “It is an honour to have won at the Pan Arab Semi-Finals and we look forward to travelling to Seattle, where we hope to gain more experience while sharing our own strengths. We plan to use what we have learnt to continue to find ways to change our lives and the lives of the people in the world around us. We have made our country proud and we hope to make the Arab region proud. We have a personal vocation to have a positive impact and that is what our project is all about.” says Soumaya Tekaya from Team Night’s Watch Tunisia.
The competition is part of Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. Khaled Abdel Kader, General Manager of Microsoft Egypt concludes, “Hosting this year’s Imagine Cup Pan Arab Semi Finals is important for our operations in Egypt as it forms part of our commitment to working with government to improve education and develop skills in our country. As part of our vision for education, we are committed to helping students create and share in entirely new ways and events like Imagine Cup provide the resources and experiences students need to create, build, collaborate, research and analyse.”