Firebirds team (from left): Stephan Udumalagala, Kishore Kumar, Mohamed Shehan and Amal Gunatilake
This year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup winners, team ‘Firebirds’ who left for the competition’s 11th World Finals held at St. Petersburg, Russia recently, brought honour to Sri Lanka, when they won the Samsung Digital Native Award, presented for fresh thinking, digital savvy and global perspective.
The team Firebirds from the Infor matics Institute of Technology, Mohamed Shehan, Stephan Udumalagala, Amal Gunatilake and Kishore Kumar presented their project I-Chum at the World Finals. I-Chum, a visual aid to the blind, was created with the use of a combination of several technologies such as infrared and RGB cameras, microphones and sonar.
The team leader Mohamed Shehan, who was the mastermind behind the project, said that they brought these technologies together to create this visual aid, as there wasn’t a similar device in the market to date. I-Chum captures heat, sound, light and depth and translates them into messages the blind can understand.
The winners were announced at the Imagine Cup Awards Ceremony, held at the historic Alexandrinsky Theatre and attended by more than 800 students, judges, awards partners, Russian dignitaries and members of the media from around the world. The ceremony was the culmination of a four-day competition and celebration of bringing ideas to life through technology and teamwork. The winners of the 11th World Imagine Cup under the three categories Innovation, Games and World Citizenship were from the UK, Austria and Portugal respectively with each team receiving US $ 50,000 cash awards.
The team ‘Firebirds’ who won the Samsung Digital Native Award also received a cash price of US $ 10,000/equivalent to the cash price received by the second place winners in the three main Imagine Cup categories.
“For the past 11 years, Imagine Cup has been a place of inspiration and innovation for students around the world,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist Steve Guggenheimer. “The students participating in this competition demonstrate the very best in innovation from their home countries and together are creating new apps, innovations and services that will change the way the world works, interacts and learns. We are proud of the finalists who competed in Imagine Cup this year and stand in awe of the projects and technology they brought forth during this exciting week.”