IT Sligo Reach Finals at Microsoft Imagine Cup

Team Hermes Celebrate in USAAfter a day packed with student presentations, more than 400 students waited in anticipation to learn who would have the chance to continue their quest toward winning the Microsoft Imagine Cup. IT Sligo students are one of 6 teams to make it to the finals of the Software Design category. They will compete against teams from China, Jordan, New Zealand, Romania and the United States.

Team HERMES is an interdisciplinary venture from IT Sligo bringing innovative ideas from the School of Engineering and the School of Business and Humanities. It has a key goal of initially targeting “the most at risk” drivers to increase road safety and thereby tackle what the World Health Organisation predict will be the 5th leading cause of death by 2030. With this goal in mind the team came up with a unique idea that will change the way in which road and human factors are associated with fatal/serious vehicle road traffic collisions. The team researched the statistics reported on road safety and found that the data was lacking real time analysis for any given accident. The team have developed an in car road system that communicates data from the device in the car to a mobile phone, which will then be uploaded to the cloud thereby acting as an early warning system on erratic driving behaviour.

Speaking from New York, IT Sligo postgraduate research student James McNamara, from team HERMES said: “We’re delighted to have made it to the final stage of the Microsoft Imagine Cup. We’re looking forward to representing IT Sligo, our fellow students and our country in the final round of the competition and are busy preparing for our final presentation. Our fingers are crossed for tomorrow.”

President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott said; “This is the second time that IT Sligo has represented Ireland at the Imagine Cup World Finals in the last five years and we are delighted with what team HERMES have achieved this year. Their project is a wonderful example of how well interdisciplinary teams can work together.”

This year, more than 350,000 students from 183 countries registered for Microsoft Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition. The 124 student teams secured their places at the July 8–13 Worldwide Finals event, where they will demonstrate technological advancements in problem-solving and compete for international recognition and $215,000 (U.S.) in cash prizes in categories including Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Design, Digital Media, Windows Phone 7, IT Challenge, Interoperability Challenge, Windows 7 Touch Challenge and the Orchard Challenge. The students’ projects tackle serious humanitarian issues, often inspired by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, such as the environment, health, accessibility and education.

Claire Dillon, Microsoft Ireland, said: “Participating in a major educational competition such as the Microsoft Imagine Cup, inspires students who are working at the cutting edge of new technologies. In this fast moving world, students need to know how to learn new skills as quickly as technology creates new challenges. Some of history’s greatest inventions were created by students. With the Microsoft Imagine Cup, students apply their innovative thinking to real-world causes in order to generate the future’s greatest inventions as well. To see young innovators and entrepreneurs harness their creativity and talent to benefit a greater good is absolutely inspiring. We’re delighted team HERMES has made it to the finals tomorrow and we will all be supporting them in their pursuit of gold”.

For further information about Microsoft Imagine Cup log click here.

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