Imagine Cup 2011–IT Challenge–Sinescu Ionut (Romania)

Ionut SinescuOne of the best things about the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the variety of competition categories that span all of Microsoft’s technologies. One such category is the IT Challenge.

The IT Challenge tests competitor’s skills and knowledge about everything IT. Competitors are given a case study on an organization and have to write a document telling the judges exactly how they would meet this organization’s needs. If they do well and move on to the final round, the competition heats up.

From the Microsoft Imagine Cup website:

“This lab will challenge you to build servers, server images, and configurations on a Hyper-V host server to prove your practical knowledge and experience with the technologies.  You will be asked to setup, install, and demonstrate knowledge and expertise around Windows 2008 R2, Exchange 2010, Windows 7, Office 2010, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, TMG 2010, SQL 2008 R2, Office Communications Server 2007 R2, etc. You will be given 24 hours to complete the hands-on lab challenge.” 

One such competitor is Sinescu Ionut, a student at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Romania. Sinescu will be competing against five other students in what Sincescu calls “a one man show” of information technology excellence.

For more on Sinescu, feel free to check out his blog (in Romanian), or visit him on Facebook.

Imagine Cup 2011–Team Software4Life (Spain)

249502_206573872718262_206572472718402_578592_6745342_n

Earlier this week, I introduced you to the first of five teams competing in the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup, Team Note-Taker. Today, I’m going to introduce you to Team Software4Life from Spain.

Team Software4Life is made up of Cristian, team mentor, and Luis, Pedro, Cesar, and Gonzalo. Their project is called WaterSense, and the goal is to streamline the availability of drinking water. Why is a project like this needed, you ask? In some areas of the world, drinking water is not as plentiful as it is in developed nations.

Team photoWaterSense aims to change this with their 3-part solution. The first part is WaterSense Mobile. This is a tool designed to be used by volunteers in developing countries to identify potential water shortages. The second component is WaterSense NGO. This is what is used by NGOs to examine and analyze the data collected by volunteers through WaterSense Mobile. The final piece is a social component called WaterSense FB. This component lives on Facebook and enables users to see where projects are going on and enables users to donate and track where their donations are going.

This is one project that I am incredibly curious to see in person. Water is an absolute necessity for life, and I believe that any project that can bring clean drinking water to those who need it is worthy of praise.

For more on WaterSense, I strongly encourage you to visit their Facebook page, YouTube channel, and stay tuned here for more from New York City.

Imagine Cup 2011–Team Note-Taker (USA)

Imagine-Cup-2011

The Worldwide Finals of the 2011 Imagine Cup by Microsoft will be upon us in about three weeks. Over these next few weeks, I’ll be introducing you to some select teams that will be competing July 8th-13th in New York City.

Today, I’ll be introducing Team Note-Taker. Team Note-Taker is based out of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC) at Arizona State University.

Led by team leader David Hayden and Mentor John Black,5607507820_f581754579_z along with Shashank Srinivas, Michael Astrauskas, and Qian Yan, Team Note-Taker has created a portable assistive device consisting of a robotic camera, a tablet PC, and Microsoft OneNote 2010.

Inspiration for this project comes from David Hayden who is legally blind and decided he was not going to let his blindness get in the way of pursuing a dual degree in both Computer Science and Mathematics.

notetaker-prototypesThe Note-Taker presents its users with a split-screen view of live video from the camera and a Microsoft OneNote notebook. By using gestures (pinch to zoom, tap to focus, etc.) users can control the camera and take notes at the same time.

By using a solution such as the Note-Taker, students who are vision impaired can reduce the time and struggle in keeping up with their sighted peers in classes.

The Note-Taker is an innovative approach combining software and hardware in an easy to use way and at an affordable price point.

Team Note-Taker took first place in the Software Design category of the US Imagine Cup finals. Will they take it all the way in New York City? Stay tuned right here to find out!

(All images property of their respective owners. Imagine Cup logo, property Microsoft Corporation, Team Note-Taker photo, property Microsoft Corporation, Note-Taker prototypes photo, property Wired.)