This weekend, students from 75 countries have been competing at the Imagine Cup worldwide finals – each team aiming to win in the finals tomorrow. It's a massive event – hundreds of students showcasing their technology innovations and ideas for making the world a better place.
Sadly, the Australian Team StethoCloud didn't make it into the six finalists for the Software Design competition, but the six teams that go through are now pitching their ideas to the judges aiming to take the cup back to their country on Tuesday night. Some of the problems the finalists are trying to solve are:
- using a mobile phone to help blind people 'see' more of their environment (New Zealand)
- a smart lighting power saving system (Japan)
- fighting obesity (Taiwan)
- enabling deaf people to talk through using motion sensitive gloves to translate sign language to speech (Ukraine).
I spent Friday at the Sydney Convention Centre, volunteering to greet the teams as they arrived. (Fortunately, I didn't get the Sydney Airport volunteering stint, where my colleagues got to greet the arriving teams in Koala costume from 6AM!). It was a great experience, meeting all of the different students, and helping them to get started in the conference centre with their bag of goodies. I was really surprised by how international universities have become, with students from one country studying in another on the other side of the world. And I certainly got to test my world geography – by the end of my shift, I'd spoken with student teams from 46 different countries. And all the teams are getting a flavour of Sydney right now – with teams heading over to Taronga Zoo (eg), or climbing to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge (pic).
For a flavour of how the Imagine Cup is going, there's a great Imagine Cup photo stream on Flickr, and you can follow the action on Twitter, by looking for tweets using the #imaginecup hashtag. The global winners get announced tomorrow evening, so the excitement will be mounting right up until then.