In a world where technology dictates our daily functions, from our Smartphone alarms waking us up in the morning, our coffee makers programmed to alleviate our morning coffee-making blunders, to having our lives meticulously programmed into one single device, we expect technology to go as far as to heal the world of its many wounds. We expect technology to solve world hunger, end illiteracy, save the environment, and combat disease. This, however, is easier said than done. These imagined hopes might seem illogical to many, yet they are feasible to some who dare to dream. Theoretically, and practically, with technological entities like Microsoft, technology is the medium for the extraordinary.
An amalgamation of talent and student innovation, Microsoft’s Imagine Cup makes the extraordinary possible for those who dream. One of the world’s premier student technology competitions, the Imagine Cup allows student innovators from all over the world to come together to solve world issues through technology. In essence, the Imagine Cup is a year-long competition, where student competitors undergo country finals, followed by regional finals, to finally compete in the world event, which for 2012, is being held in Sydney, Australia. For students in Kuwait, Microsoft proudly offers an impressive support system, housing the only Microsoft innovation Center in the Gulf region, allowing students to utilize Microsoft’s latest technology, including computers, applications and programs, completely free of charge.
Combining creativity with the latest technologies available to solve problems, the Imagine Cup enables students from all over the world to make a positive change – with ground-breaking technologies in promoting road safety, medical efficiency, and ending literacy, more than one million students have participated. Last year alone, the first Arab Team from Jordan won 3rd place in the Software design competition. Each team competing created applicable solutions that make a real difference in the world. Marking a milestone for Arab talent, team Oasys from Jordan went above and beyond in creating an application that enables paralyzed patients to be able to physically use computers and technological devices via sensor stimuli, where with one simple movement of the hand, a patient could technically allow for keyboard simulation and mouse movement. In essence, patients virtually connect to the physical world, using Microsoft tools and technologies as envisioned by Project Horizon. Furthermore, a team from Oman won second place in the Multimedia competition, giving us a total of two Arab teams who won in the finals of the Imagine Cup in 2011.
Besides the astounding and challenging frontiers presented in the Software design competition, the Imagine Cup also allows young innovators to create games for Xbox and windows to creatively solve the world’s toughest problems. Whether in 3-D or 2-D, multilevel, single or multiple players, students’ design skills are tested to make the gaming platform the center for changing the world.
Looking to independently compete? Then look no further than the IT Challenge, a chance that makes the opportunity of flaunting that secret brainpower a feasible reality. In the IT Challenge, you will be tasked with developing, deploying, and maintaining IT systems that are efficient, functional, robust, and secure, while demonstrating proficiency in the science of networks, databases, and servers and an intimate understanding of how it must all fit together, both on-premise and in the cloud.
With country finals soon taking place in Kuwait, students at various universities are getting excited to compete on all fronts. Watch out for the Imagine Cup booths, presentations and seminars coming to your university. Not only so, many national and international institutions feel like it is their role to support this initiative, including Zain Communications, The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, Burgan Bank, Asus and Wamda.
In Kuwait, Zain Communications is supporting the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 Phone Challenge to create software that can really make a broad impact in the world. This is a chance to make the work of Kuwait’s young talent available on a mobile device to be used by millions. The top three winners will be granted prizes from Zain for the best phone application, but to get a chance to go the Imagine Cup finals, students must submit their application online by visiting the Imagine Cup website portal. Great tools are provided to students to install to the Windows Phone and start problem solving and creating, including Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone, Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone and the Windows Phone Emulator.”
For more information and to register to compete, please visit www.imagincecupgulf.com.