The UK Imagine Cup 2013 - Natasha Joseph
As Natasha has previously mentioned in her diary posts here on Be Your Future, she has had the opportunity to lead the UK’s entries to the Global Imagine Cup competition. The competition involves app developers competing against each other globally. Natasha has had the opportunity to tour the UK searching for the UK’s best and most innovative app developers, and once found she will take them to the global competition in St Petersburg, Russia. Monday the 8th April was the UK Imagine Cup Finals, Natasha has shared her insight into the day and the teams with us:
In the UK this year, we ran 4 Regional Finals to encourage and drive more registrations (over 3,000) and entries. We used these to narrow down the entries to leave the top 3 winners from each region. This meant the UK finals, which took place on April 8th at the University College London, would have up to 12 of the UK’s exceptional teams who would then battle it out to be the winner.
The Regions we targeted and partners we worked with were:
- North east
Projects and Teams:
On April 8th, 10 teams competed in our local finals, in order to be the United Kingdom representatives for the World Wide Finals. Below is a breakdown of all the teams split into the regions they qualified from. We would like to say a huge thank you to all the teams that came, we were excited to have them compete and we were really impressed with the quality this year.
Praxis (Games) – Praxis were from the University of Teesside, and created their “Lost in Darkness” game. Team member, Richard Lawrence explains the premise of the game, “We take you back to the 1950’s. You play a woman who is lost in a haunted and eerie mansion in search of her long lost father. You navigate your way around trying to find out the truth of your fathers absence, with only have a lantern to help you guide your way around… But the question is, will you find him before you get lost in the darkness forever?” Other team member Steven Jackson stated “Once we had chosen the horror theme, we wanted to move away from the convention of shooting and zombie games and instead were interested in the prospect of exploration and playing about with the user’s senses, we really wanted to scare anyone who played.” A few of the judges even ended up jumping whilst playing the game!
*Osseus (World Citizenship) – *Osseus are a virtual physiotherapy application used to aid patients in their recovery and treatment. They had an innovative solution using the Kinect to track the patient’s movements. This would store the information in a database – the key here being that they could move this into the cloud and process this data for more information to help the patient!
Osseus created a great programme that made exercising at home fun, easy and cheap, and even the judges were having fun trying it out and getting involved!
*Eye of Moscow (Games) – *There seemed to be horror in the air at our UK finals. Eye of Moscow, like Praxis, developed a horror game based on a true Russian story, but this time were trying to aim it at the 14-17 age range. They wanted people of a younger age (with horror games usually rated 18+) to have a great experience whilst also getting scared! The team described a haunting story set in Chernobyl, of a doctor who has turned crazy due to a leak of poisonous substance in an underground hospital. He believes his family are still alive and goes in search of them, but will he discover the truth of their whereabouts and uncover the story?! With creaky doors and disturbing hallucinations of ‘grudge-like’ young girls, even the judges were engrossed by the teams story and were all scared by the end of it!
Squi-Delta (Games) – A team of two from Birmingham came together to create an addictive PC game (hoping to get it on windows phone eventually), that rooted for a lost squids search for his home!
With the innovative and shall we say ‘interesting’ choice of lead character, everyone playing the game was cheering for ‘squi-delta’ to find his way back, dodging gruesome sharks and mines, but not before he stopped to pick up some goodies on the way!
*Region: South *
11th Hour (Innovation) – “What’s our aim of today? To get to Russia!”
11th Hour were a team from Exeter University who developed a ticket-selling app. The app connects unsold tickets for a wide variety of events to consumers – from ballet lessons to music festivals. The focus is on last-minute events: if a company has not sold out their class or venue within a week or so of their event, they would use the app to advertise their tickets at a discounted rate, in order to ensure the capacity was filled. Companies pay a base rate to be included on the site, which is then raised if they wish to appear in a more prominent position on the app. Users are encouraged to sign up to the site, where they will receive ticket alerts 15 minutes before the general release.
*Ticklo (World Citizenship) – *Ticklo built an education app for students, teachers and parents. Unlike similar apps, Ticklo produced a fun and easy way to learn and engage young kids at school without leaving anyone behind. The app allows teachers to set assignments for their classes- currently with a focus on mathematics – which students can access at school and at home using Azure technology. The app tracks each student’s progress, including how long it has taking pupils to answer each question, which the teacher can use to build lesson plans and highlights subject areas that require further attention. The app is also intelligent – if students are answering lots of questions wrong, it will pick up on this and reduce the difficulty of the questions. It is designed with students in mind, and in the hope that one day we can get everyone to the same level, no matter how long it takes!
SoundSYNK (Innovation) – SoundSYNK have developed an app which connects devices together with the same content. They set the scene by describing a music festival: when the band finishes playing, festival-goers retreat to their tents together where one person would play music from their phone to maintain the atmosphere. However, the volume is often not high enough for large groups to appreciate. SoundSYNK uses Bluetooth technology to link together an unlimited number of mobile phones and stream the same song in perfect timing, effectively creating a symphony of speakers. This can also be used in the corporate world, where meeting leaders will be able to distribute certain documents, such as PowerPoint presentations, out to the attendees so everyone is able to personally view it.
*Oxi-Way (Innovation) – *“This has been an amazing experience. Today I feel especially nervous and excited. I’m really looking forward to see the other competitors” – Riham
Oxiway are a team from Oxford University, who have created a swapping and trading site for students… Think Ebay but better! It’s free to use when you log in with your university email address, and allows members to buy, sell and swap items as required. Local retailers are also able to join the site, with students being able to reserve products online and collect them in store, preventing the need for online payments. The Oxiway team attended both the Oxford and Imperial University careers fairs, where they received 600 sign-ups In 3 days.
*Networked Vehicles (Innovation)- *This team of 3, used Microsoft Gadgeteer to create a service fit in vehicles that allowed drivers to find out more about their driving and other drivers on the road.
They also were testing out the concept of projecting key information onto a drivers windscreen and side mirrors!
*VirtUlearn (Innovation) – *Like Ticklo, this London based team, sought to create an education app that helped teachers in the classroom create a more virtual and fun environment for the students. Incorporating Kinect technology and touch screens, it was aiming to try and take the mundane classroom lessons we have into a new era of learning!
A Little Trick:
We tried to pull off a stunt at the UK finals, and were lucky enough to have Alistair Shepherd who with his partner Sam Mead, owns a start-up called Saberr who specialise in Intelligent recruitment, and help people try and form the ‘Perfect Teams’. We asked all the student teams to fill out their specially designed questionnaire, and using this information with their algorithm, that Alistair would be able to predict:
A) who will be the Top 3 teams
B) Which team would Win!
Let’s just say somehow he managed to get this 100% correct!!**
The UK Top 3
The competition was judged by some high profile managers from both Microsoft US and Microsoft UK as well as Natasha herself, the top 3 teams are outlined below, but only the winners can travel to Russia!
In 3rd Place
In 3rd Place were the Games Competition Winners – Praxis
In 2nd place were the citizenship competition winners – Ticklo
And the UK Imagine Cup Winners were – SoundSYNK
Here at Be Your Future along with Natasha we wish the guys at SoundSYNK the very best of luck at the World Wide Finals in Russia, and we in the UK have no doubt that they will do us proud!