Greetings from Seoul! Yesterday was quite eventful as I flew 20+ hours from Toronto, to Dallas, then ending up in Seoul, South Korea. Took a bus to the hotel with the Canadian photography competitors, Team Awesome and Team Robot Hospital, caught the tail end of the keynote, had a few hors d'oeuvres and went to sleep. This morning, I met up with Etienne Tremblay for breakfast. I also spent quite a lot of time with the Canadian teams - let me introduce you to them:
Team Awesome and Team RobotHospital - Photography Challenge
Meet Ryan Marr (Ryerson University), Patrick Struys (University of Toronto) and Nick Haffie-Emslie (University of Western Ontario). Ryan and Patrick reached the finals by creating a photo story of Eric, an individual with multiple disabilities who demonstrates how computers can contribute to his education and ultimately, better his life. The day started pretty well, the team had their Canon 5D and Canon EOS film cameras prepped up. For the finals, the photography teams get their own sedans, translators, and guides and must go all over Seoul for a period of 48 hrs (day and night) to create an impressive photo portfolio according to a theme determined by the Imagine Cup administrators.
Nick (at the far right) is an old hat at Imagine Cup - he has participated for the past 3 years. Yesterday, we learned that his teammate Sam Chow was stuck in Canada (for paperwork reasons) and unable to attend the beginning of the competition! We've been doing our best to help Sam, and came to a solution where Sam and Nick can collaborate on the phone and using Live Messenger (technology comes to the rescue!). As I write this, Ryan, Patrick and Nick are visiting select spots around Seoul to do some night photography (their only opportunity to do so). The best of luck to both teams - I'll post updates tomorrow!
Team iDoll - Embedded Software Challenge
Meet Johnny Ho, Alan Huang, Caleb Ho and Noel Wu from Team iDoll (all students from the University of British Columbia). This team created a really amazing CPR manikin upgrade to improve the learning experience of CPR in a classroom and at home. The software was written entirely using C#. There was an initial challenge as 20% of their gear was stuck in Seattle. However, they delivered an excellent, empassioned presentation and they are confident that they will receive their equipment by tomorrow. To help them out, I provided them with an ebox-2300. I also did a video that I will publish shortly - best of luck to Team iDoll!
Team Omni - Software Design Challenge
Team Omni is made up of three Americans and one Canadian - Alfred Leung from McGill University (Photo: 2nd from the left) (an interesting side-note, they classified the team as North American instead of U.S. and Canada). The Software Design Challenge is one of the most competitive and rewarding in the Imagine Cup. Team Omni built a solution which combines social networks like FaceBook with translation capabilities. For example, if an individual wants to learn Korean, they typically go to a course and then lose the ability to converse because they don't have an opportunity to practice. Team Omni's Web based software allows peers on different networks such as MySpace and FaceBook to collaborate on translations and learn together. They delivered a tight, well rehearsed presentation thanks to the great support by Gus Weber (an Academic Developer Evangelist based in Rochester, NY) and Stephanie Reimann. The team is very strong and has created a very cool solution.
I'll keep posting updates every day of Imagine Cup in Seoul, including video interviews with each of the teams. If you want up to the minute photos from the event, be sure to check out my photo gallery.