Friday, May 6th, 2011
At a tension-filled event at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, last night the five Australian finalists in the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup fought for the coveted first place in the national Software Design category of the world’s premier student technology competition.

After presenting their projects to a live audience and a six person judging panel, the UCEEG Team from the University of Canberra and their Brain Speller design submission was announced the winner. The team has developed an integrated hardware/software solution providing a faster way for people living with a disability to type with the power of thought. Using the commercially available Emotiv EPOC brain-signal acquisition headset, which can detect mental commands, facial expressions and emotions; these are translated to text by mapping the eight strokes of digital digits.

UCEEG Team will represent Australia at the worldwide Imagine Cup finals in New York in July.

In another significant win, Australia was announced as the host nation for the 2012 World Imagine Cup finals, a competition created to stimulate emerging technologists to focus on finding solutions to real-world issues. The 2012 competition will be the tenth anniversary of the Imagine Cup.

The ACS Foundation became a sponsor of the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup in what it sees as the start of an ongoing and sustained effort to create opportunities through the competition to raise the profile of careers in ICT.

In congratulating the UCEEG team and the four other finalists on their outstanding projects, John Debrincat, Chair of the ACS Foundation, said: “Submissions of the calibre of this year’s designs showcase the talent and imagination which is being channelled through our universities. The Imagine Cup this year attracted entries from more than 300,000 students from 100 countries, and we wish the UCEEG team well in the upcoming world titles.”

Australia saw record participation levels this year, with 35 submissions from 12 universities. Debrincat sees this, and the water management solution from Team SOAK from Melbourne University which won the 2008 Imagine Cup world Software Design, as “signals of Australia’s strength in innovation. We are very much part of the big, global ICT picture and set to play a convincing role as the host country for next year’s finals of this prestigious competition.”

With the need for IT professionals growing exponentially across the world’s industry sectors Debrincat said: “People don’t realise that two thirds of IT professionals work outside the industry itself. Technology use is accepted as easily as the oxygen we breathe and its uses and potential only need the fire of imagination.”

Penny Coulter, Chairperson of the National ICT Careers Week Organising Committee, said: “The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the technology equivalent of the Olympics. It is a very exciting avenue for raising the profile of the boundless training and professional career possibilities available in ICT.”

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ACS Foundation, students, Imagine Cup, ICT

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