Imagine Cup Ideas Day 2012

Member Article

IT Students Imagine End to Global Problems

ENTERPRISING students from the North East’s colleges and universities have come together to discuss and design new apps and games that could help solve global problems.

The students are taking part in the Microsoft Imagine Cup, an international competition where students and graduates from around the globe develop, test, and build their ideas into applications that address some of the world’s toughest problems, such as poverty, hunger, inequality and environmental sustainability, through the use of Microsoft tools and technology.

The event last month was part of the North East heat of the competition, run by Sunderland Software City and held in the new state of the art Sunderland Software Centre in Tavistock Place.

At the event, students got to work with experienced mentors from the North East’s software industry, including Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) Andrew Westgarth, who lead the event and Steve Spencer, Development Director for Software Consultancy firm Black Marble, to brainstorm and begin designing ideas for innovative new software applications.

Andrew, a Technical Architect at Sage said: “It is a pleasure to be involved in the Imagine Cup North East and work with the students to help develop their ideas for innovative apps and games.

“It is a very prestigious and worthwhile competition for the students to be involved in and also gives them unrivalled practical experience of app and game development.”

The students also got to hear from Riccardo Viglianisi who entered last year’s Imagine Cup competition and with a team from Northumbria University, Team Eyeworks, developed a mobile application that helps to spot the early signs of sight loss

Team Eyeworks’ entry saw them win the Imagine Cup North East Competition, the Imagine Cup UK Finals and go on to represent the UK at the worldwide finals in Australia.

Riccardo said: “The Imagine Cup opened so many doors for me and was brilliant experience of not only taking your idea for an application and developing it into an actual product but also of skills such as team work, project management and marketing.

“I would recommend anyone interested in a career in developing or coding or those with an idea for a game or app to enter the competition, it could change your life.”

The second place accolade in last year’s UK finals also went to a team from the North East, Teesside 0x32 from Teesside University.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is open to all students aged 16 and over and those who have graduated within the last year.

As well the opportunity to work with innovative Microsoft technology and develop their ideas with the help of some of the world’s most experienced developers, finalists will be flown to St Petersburg, Russia, for the competitions global finals in July 2013 and be in with the chance of winning cash prizes to develop their applications further.

Over the past ten years, 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in the competition. Last year’s theme, ’Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems’ saw entries that included projects to reduce the number of road traffic deaths, applications to help the partially sighted and a game which raises awareness of the dangers of forest fires.

David Dunn, chief executive officer at Sunderland Software City, said: “Having two teams from the North East come first and second in last year’s competition highlights the wealth of software talent and innovation we have here in the region.

“This year, we are hoping that another North East team will represent the UK in the worldwide finals in Russia and further strengthen the region’s already impressive reputation within the international software community.”

This year’s competition theme is ‘All dreams are now welcome’ and prospective teams are being invited to sign up and submit their ideas.

Sunderland Software City will be holding a 36 hour ‘hackathon’ on the 1st and 2nd of February at the Centre for Life where teams entering the Imagine Cup will come together with some of the region’s top coders and designers to develop their ideas into functioning applications over the course of a residential weekend.

Students or graduates with an idea for an app or game are still able to sign-up to attend the Hack Weekend and be in with the chance of winning a trip to Russia and cash prizes to develop your idea into a business.

Visit or follow @ImagineCupNE on Twitter.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Amy Watson .

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