The Imagine Cup 2012 worldwide finals have just got underway down under and 72 software design teams from all around the world have gathered in Sydney, Australia to celebrate and compete in the 10th Imagine Cup worldwide finals. Team EyeWorks (Faizan Asghar, Northumbria University, Colin Squires, Newcastle College and Riccardo Viglianisi, Northumbria University) alongside their mentor Alamgir Hossain are flying the flag for the UK with their project MIRA (Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis system) which will enable the low-cost early detection of eye diseases such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy which are the current leading causes of blindness.
It all kicked off at the airport this morning with competitors, mentors, judges and Microsoft staff flying in from all over the world to be greeted by a giant koala, a little treat organised by the Australian interns and MACHs. Here’s our UK team (minus Faizan for some reason) and their mentor Alamgir being greeted at the airport after a 24 hour flight!
So day 1 kicked off with the students and staff having a quick bite to eat at the hotel before heading to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre where the Imagine Cup worldwide finals are held this year. Here we see a multitude of bright colours, amazing outfits and enthusiasm at another level. To see some more pictures of the Imagine Cup worldwide finals so far take a look at the official Imagine Cup 2012 Facebook page. At the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre students, mentors and staff register and pick up their freebies (in this case an Imagine Cup 2012 rucksack, water bottle, t-shirt and sweatshirt – not bad for a day’s swag), programme (where we see we have an upcoming ‘cultural day’ where students have the option of a Harbour Bridge Climb, Taronga Zoo etc, Karaoke, Group photo as well as the all-exciting presentations and award ceremonies!).
After some team time where teams have broken off to practise their presentations and do some last minute tweaking it’s time for the Opening Ceremony. At the opening ceremony we had some key figures give inspirational and exciting talks about how students are at the forefront of innovation and how these Imagine Cup projects could become the next Microsoft or Facebook, 2 companies started by students. Prominent speakers included Dan’l Lewin (CVP for Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft), Adrian Piccolo (Minister of Education, NSW), Julia Gillard (Australian Prime Minister), Walid Abu-Habda (CVP, DPE Lead, Microsoft), Moorthy Uppaluri (General Manager – Academic Team, Microsoft), Pip Marlow (General Manager Australia, Microsoft) and Jessica Watson (youngest person to sail solo around the world, young Australian of the year and bestselling author).
Following from all of the building excitement of the talks and keynote speeches there were of course giveaways. Four teams were awarded full dev conference passes and ALL worldwide finalists (approximately 375) were given a brand new Nokia Lumia 800 today, courtesy of Nokia.
Now that’s day 1 wrapped up but there’ll be plenty more action from the Imagine Cup worldwide finals over the coming 5 days and if you want to watch the live stream you can do so here.