The Imagine Cup is an annual global competition run by Microsoft for young technologists. Teams attempt to solve some of the biggest problems facing the world today, all of which resolve around the theme of the competition. To date over 200,000 people from 2nd and 3rd level institutes, from over 100 countries, have participated. The Microsoft website has loads more information about the Imagine Cup.
Our success at the Imagine Cup
Access Earth, an app designed by students of Maynooth University, was selected to compete in the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2014 World Finals in Seattle. The app, designed by Maynooth University Computer Science students Matthew McCann, KC Grant and Jack Gallagher, provides information on buildings’ accessibility for those with mobility impairments.
Access Earth allows people to make an informed decision on whether or not a building is wheelchair accessible by providing information on facilities including ramps and wheelchair accessible toilets alongside an overall building accessibility rating. It does this by harnessing the local knowledge of volunteer networks across the world to catalogue individual building’s mobility points.
Maynooth University has had considerable success at the Imagine Cup. In 2007, Maynooth University placed 1st and 3rd in the National finals, with Team InGest and Team Sleepy Oranges respectively. The theme for 2007 was "Imagine a world where technology enables education for all".
Team InGest entered the software development challenge of the Imagine Cup and developed a system that enables people to learn sign language. Using a webcam and some gesture recognition software along with visual instructions, feedback is provided to the user and they can improve their sign language skills. Team InGest made it to the world finals of the Imagine Cup 2007, finishing fourth in their category. The team also won a place on the BT/Microsoft Innovation Accelerator programme which is an in-depth business and technology training award that saw them fly to Silicon Valley, Calfornia for two weeks to assist them turning their project into a viable business product.