Team From Ukraine Wins Top Honors at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Finals
20 July 2012

The beach at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City, FL
Team quadSquad from Ukraine celebrates getting first place at Imagine Cup 2012 in Australia.

This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

More than three hundred fifty students from seventy-five nations were in Sydney, Australia, last week for the Imagine Cup Finals. This is the tenth year Microsoft Corporation has organized the competition. Each year, the company invites students to use their love of technology to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed the competitors.

JULIA GILLARD: “Welcome to Sydney. Congratulations on the achievements that brought you here. We look forward to seeing the fruits of your creative work this week in years to come. The world does have tough problems. We are fortunate to have people like you who have a passion to solve them. Enjoy the Imagine Cup!” (:21)

Microsoft’s Dan’l Lewin also spoke at the opening ceremony.

DAN’L LEWIN: “Programs like the Imagine Cup and the DreamSpark program that you’ve all participated in are the foundation upon which young entrepreneurs, students like yourselves with big dreams, can make a difference in the world.”

This year, more than two hundred fifty thousand students registered for the Imagine Cup. One hundred six teams were invited to the finals. Pip Marlow is with Microsoft Australia. She was especially pleased at the number of women competing.

PIP MARLOW: “That’s why I was thrilled to hear that twenty percent of you in the competition this year are women. And so forget being the next Bill Gates, you could be the next Belinda Gates. So, I’m excited to see that represented today.”

Microsoft announced the winning teams last Tuesday at its World Festival and Awards Ceremony. A team from the Ukraine won the Imagine Cup’s top honor.

“It is with great pleasure and honor, the first place winner in the Software Design Category goes to team quadSquad from Ukraine.”

The team’s EnableTalk software program helps people who are totally or partially unable to hear. It changes sign language hand movements into speech. This is done using special gloves and a smartphone application. The gloves capture the sign language hand movements and send them to a smartphone equipped with a special app. The app compares those images to stored hand language signs and plays the words represented by the signs. The quadSquad team will receive twenty-five thousand dollars to support development of its idea.

A team from Drexel University in the United States won first place in the Game Design for Phone competition. The Drexel Dragons designed a game to help students better understand mathematics.

And Team TANG Thai from Thailand won first place in the Game Design: Xbox/Windows competition. The team designed a game that helps teach young people about the world’s deforestation problem.

And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at I'm Steve Ember.