Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2017 is now beginning to reach its climax, as four teams from the UK will travel to the USA where they will compete for prizes worth more than $200,000. They will have their work cut out for them however, as they are joined by 50 other teams from all over the world at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, where each will present their ideas for solving real-world problems.
This year's winners will take home $100,000 in cash, a $120,000 Azure grant, a the trip to next year's Build developer conference and a private mentoring session with Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella.
Standing between our finalists and the prizes is a judging panel comprised of Anthony Salcito; Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code; Harvard University computer science professor David Malan; and Mark Russinovich, Chief Technology Officer for Azure.
Each of the four teams who will represent the UK at this month's Imagine Cup Final have written their own blog about their experiences so far for the Microsoft Faculty Connection Blog (links below), but here's a short summary of each team and their entry:
Team Pocket Sized Hands - Abertay University
Honeypot Espionage is an online VR multiplayer shooter focused on stealth combat, in which you are put against other Spies in a combat arena. The last player standing wins. As a Spy you are completely invisible, but you will begin to materialize if you move, fire a weapon or set a trap.
Team SEAT - University College London
A proof of concept of a new tool, which enhances the experience of programming assignments for students and professors. Comprised of an online dashboard and a Visual Studio Code extension, it will allow instructors to get statistics about their studentsâ€™ performance on assignments, and provide automatic feedback to pupils about their code.
Team KSF.LLC - University of Oxford
ROOT (Remote Observation & Operation Technology) is an agri-tech start-up that brings remote and interactive farming to people in cities, allowing them to join, learn and enjoy agriculture from anywhere, at any time via smart devices.
Team Donaco - Imperial University
The aim of Donaco is to facilitate the relationship between donors and charities, by bringing trustworthy charities to users based on the content they read online. The idea is very simple: While you read an article online, Donaco measures your interest on the topic. If it detects interest, a small banner will appear in a corner of your screen, which you can click to find a suggestion of three charities relevant to the article. You can then easily pay using integrated, one-click payments (i.e. PayPal, Apple Pay) and then track your donations within your own portal.