Get inspired with Sunderland Software City's email newsletter
Blog: A Competition Down Under
Added July 24, 2012
The Olympic athletes of Team GB aren’t the only people representing their country at the highest level this month.
Following Sunderland Software City’s support of the North East heats of this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup – which showcases the skills of student software developers from around the world, setting them the challenge of develop a solution to a worldwide problem - local team EyeWorks won first place in the national final (with second place going to Teesside’s 0x32) and were chosen to represent the UK in the worldwide final in Australia.
Team members Faizan Ali Asghar, and Riccardo Viglianisi, and Colin Squires headed to Sydney to showcase their Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis software, which is designed to cure blindness. Colin picks up the story:
“After almost 24 hours stuck on aeroplanes, we finally arrived in Sydney. Extremely sleep deprived, we headed to the hotel and met with our Microsoft UK contact, Joanna Tong. After a well needed breakfast, we headed to the Sydney Convention Centre.
Firstly, we attended the Opening Ceremony which was brilliant - we watched motivational presentations from some great Microsoft speakers and at the end of the ceremony, it was announced that everyone competing would receive a brand-new Nokia Lumia 800 with a small amount of pre-paid credit. This proved very beneficial as we were able to keep in contact with other team members cheaply while we were in Sydney.
Day 2 was the day of our presentations: We already knew this, yet it seemed a shock that it had actually come. We spent the day showcasing our idea to people from a range of teams, most memorably the Canadian team, Team Greeni who gave great feedback for our project.
Filled with confidence, we headed to give our presentation to the judges. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as smoothly as it had been doing, and we spent slightly too long on the talking part, leaving less time for the demo. We started to give the demo, but with only 90 seconds left we only got as far as capturing a retinal image. This hugely damaged our chances, as we’d been told that usually a full demo is needed for advancing to the second round.
After we’d left the judging chamber, Joanna took us all for a meal at a nice restaurant. I think it’s safe to say this cheered us all up a bit, and feeling slightly less despondent we headed back to the convention centre to hear which teams had advanced to the second round.
Unfortunately we didn’t advance, which was a great disappointment. We all firmly believe in our project, and to not get through really hurt us. We were surprised to see so many great projects not go through, but we understand that 75 teams had to get reduced!
They say that every cloud has a silver lining, and it’s safe to say that “Sydney” was the silver lining. Our downfall allowed us more time to relax in a city which we may not have had the chance to go to.
We explored Sydney using a bus tour and caught up with some old friends, and in the evening, Joanna arranged for us to go for a meal and drinks with the Bulgarian team K-Vision, as they had a similar downfall to us, despite a strong project. The next day we were also lucky enough to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge - the views were simply stunning!
On the final day we showcased our idea to journalists, more judges, teams, and various other people. It seemed that everyone had positive comments for our project, and this was great to hear. That night was the final ceremony, and the team all agree with the decision of Ukraine winning the grand prize of $25000.
So, now all back in the UK, what are our future plans? Right now this is in discussion, and personally I hope that the project continues, as I firmly believe that with a bit more work we will have a fully functional product.
At the moment it’s hard to say when we will be doing this, but this certainly isn’t the end of the road for our project.
I’d like to personally thank everyone who have supported us over recent months, especially Sunderland Software City, Joanna Tong; Codeworks; Northumbria University CEIS; Libby Gardner; NEBytes; and Design Interest and last but not least, our Mentor, Professor Alamgir Hossain
The support you’ve given to myself and the team is greatly appreciated, and we couldn’t have got to Sydney without you!”
And congratulations to Team Eyeworks from everyone at Sunderland Software City – you did the North East proud.
Ask a question
You must be logged in to ask questions