Tag Archives: Imagine Cup

Expanding access to prenatal care in Africa, connecting cars in Vegas and making Windows 10 and Xbox history – Weekend Reading, Jan. 8 edition

Welcome to the first edition of Weekend Reading in 2016! From Africa to Vegas, Microsoft was busy making all kinds of news this week. Let’s take a look.

Wubwub. Wubwub. Wubwub.

The moment an expectant mother first hears her unborn child’s heartbeat is immense, but many pregnant women in Africa never experience that joy, due to a lack of access to ultrasounds and prenatal care. To help them, a group of African developers have created WinSenga, an affordable, smartphone-based ultrasound that helps doctors and midwives more easily monitor fetal health. Part of a Microsoft Imagine Cup competition project, WinSenga also helps mothers hear the comforting sounds of their baby’s heartbeat.

“It’s not just a great way to track the health of the pregnancy and raise awareness if there are problems. It brings peace of mind for the mothers. Mothers always want to hear their baby’s heartbeat,” said Joshua Okello, co-founder and team leader for Cipher256, the Ugandan-based company that created WinSenga.

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On the other side of the world, Microsoft showcased new, innovative technologies at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It demonstrated mobility solutions for connected cars, as part of new partnerships with big automakers and automotive technology companies announced at the show.

Volvo Cars, Nissan, Harman and IAV are now using Microsoft technology to enhance their connected car strategies. They join Toyota, Ford and other companies already working with Microsoft to bring their cars into a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

“In the near future, the car will be connected to the Internet, as well as to other cars, your mobile phone and your home computer,” writes Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of Business Development. “The car becomes a companion and an assistant to your digital life. And so our strategy is to be the ultimate platform for all intelligent cars.”

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Browsing the Web with Microsoft Edge and Fierce XL

CES was also the place for a bounty of Windows 10 news. ALCATEL ONETOUCH introduced Fierce XL, its first-ever Windows 10 phone, which has a 5.5-inch HD display, Cortana, Microsoft Edge and other Windows 10 goodies. Samsung revealed the sleek Galaxy TabPro S, a 2-in-1 tablet built for Windows 10. And Dell showed off an expanded portfolio of its Latitude commercial PCs, which feature Windows 10 Pro.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga has many modes.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga has many modes.

Ahead of CES, Lenovo announced its new ThinkPad X1 Yoga, a 2.8-pound, 0.66-inch-thick powerhouse. HP unveiled the HP EliteBook Folio, a new commercial-grade PC built in collaboration with Microsoft and Skype for Business. And Acer introduced the Liquid Jade Primo, a new Windows 10 phone, and updated its Aspire V Nitro “Black Edition” notebook with the latest Intel RealSense short range camera.

In other Windows 10 news, Microsoft announced that more than 200 million devices are now running Windows 10. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows and Devices Marketing, said the operating system is having the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows. “We continue to be excited – and humbled – by the incredible response to Windows 10,” Mehdi wrote.

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Xbox also had good news to share, with record numbers of Xbox gaming over the holidays. More gamers used Xbox Live on Dec. 28 than on any other day in Xbox history, and Christmas week saw an increase in Xbox One and Xbox 360 gaming hours over the same time period in 2014. Xbox One also announced two new bundles to help usher in the New Year: the Xbox One “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” Bundle and the Xbox One 500GB Name Your Game Bundle.

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Bing was hard at work again with its predictions, this time calling for New England to repeat its win as pro football champions and “Spotlight” to win the Golden Globe for best dramatic movie. If you follow football and entertainment awards, Bing Predicts is your guide.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visits the Microsoft Social Innovation Hub at the National Council for Women in Cairo.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visits the Microsoft Social Innovation Hub at the National Council for Women in Cairo.

Finally, on the Microsoft Instagram channel this week, we followed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as he visited the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt to learn how students, teachers and entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of technology to make an impact in the Middle East.

The trip was the latest in Nadella’s journeys around the world, from Kenya to Chile, where he’s met people using technology to make a difference. Nadella shared some of their stories and wrote that he’s looking forward to “continuing to learn and see first-hand how digital technology is empowering people to make things and make things happen.”

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

Numbers help sum up the big picture in Microsoft’s story

We often tell stories with words, trying to choose just the right ones to describe what we’re doing or how we’re doing it. But sometimes, it’s numbers that can give us a clearer picture.

Today we’re rolling out our new Microsoft by the Numbers site to highlight some cool facts that numbers show best. We’ve tallied some of the ways Microsoft is helping people all over the planet achieve more each day — and we’re keeping tabs on some less momentous stuff, too. Like lunch. More on that in a bit.

twitterFirst, did you know Skype Translator can translate your voice calls in six different languages and your instant messages in 50 of them? That means people around the globe can not only connect but truly communicate, hopping over language barriers of the past to talk to each other in real time.

And did you know more than 1.5 million young people from more than 190 countries have competed in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup?

That’s a huge number of tech-minded kids and young adults who’ve gotten to learn from Microsoft experts and vie for cash prizes as they work to turn creative ideas into the next big thing.

How about the fact that five Microsoft researchers have won the A.M. Turing Award, a.k.a. the “Nobel Prize of computing?” twitterThat number may just show what we already know: Microsoft Research scientists and engineers are top-notch in making product advances as well as helping solve global challenges.

You can also find out how many orders of French fries Microsoft employees put away each year in campus cafeterias — it’s pretty impressive — and other quirky things we’ve quantified.

We’ve crunched the numbers. See for yourself how they help tell Microsoft’s story.

Microsoft delivers new school supplies for class this year

education, teachers, Microsoft Innovative Educators, Microsoft Education Team

The Microsoft Education team with Microsoft Innovative Educators, showing off their superhero status.

The stores are chock-full of school supplies, buses are back on their routes, and anticipation is in the air: it’s back-to-school time again. And while parents and students are doing their part to be school-ready, teachers have been working behind-the-scenes to prepare for perhaps the most important job there is: educating our next generation.

I’ve had the great privilege to work with teachers and schools around the world for years, and I’ve seen a lot – continually evolving education systems, the “sure-fire” ways to improve learning, new trends in teaching and even those that cycle back through. Yet, no matter the trend in education, the constant force that has been hard at work to transform learning for decades, are teachers.

At Microsoft, we create products with teachers in mind and they tell us that products like OneNote, Sway, Minecraft and Skype help them bring new creativity and engagement to the classroom. We are inspired by what’s possible when teachers meet students where they’re at, help them to learn at their own pace, and then propel them to reach new heights in their learning. There’s no better place to use technology – and its promise to change lives – than in the hands of great teachers!

Individualized teaching and learning in action.
With the right technology platform in place and training, teachers around the world are finding inspiring new ways to use personalized approaches to impart 21st century skills.

Today, we announced 8 new resources to help enable individualized teaching and learning:

  1. New and no-cost features to Office 365 Education, along with the recent launch of Windows 10, are offering huge improvements for educators and students. With today’s update, we are simplifying our education lineup, moving to a single, free plan for all academic institutions and adding several new features to help schools meet their security and compliance requirements. We’ve also made it easier for teachers and students to sign up and start using free Office tools. Starting today in the U.S. and later this week everywhere else, anyone with a valid school email address can sign up.
  2. OneNote Class Notebook & Staff Notebook are now available globally for all Office 365 Education customers. In a recent IDC research study, OneNote has been shown to address the top 10 activities teachers describe as “time sinks.”
  3. New Skype in the classroom field trips are ready this year. Teachers can take their students on an adventure in their own classroom by signing up for a virtual field trip with Skype.
  4. Sway – a digital storytelling app in the Office portfolio – recently moved from preview to general availability just in time for the new school year. Teachers have been using Sway to reimagine class lessons, recap class projects, provide supplemental material for parents, provide new accessible storytelling tools to their students, and more. Sway has also helped students breathe new life into school projects, class reports, and even personal portfolios.
  5. Snip is a new screen capture tool that lets you tell your story in your own voice while you ink on an image, a photo that you take with your webcam, or a digital whiteboard. And you can share that story by copying your snip to the clipboard, sending it in an email, and embedding it on a website. Educators are using Snip to provide personalized feedback to students and students are using Snip to express their creativity and to collaborate with teachers and classmates.
  6. In addition to learning how to use technology, we see the growing interest from students to learn how to create technology. Teachers can help their students understand and learn more about creating technology with these new resources:
    • Microsoft YouthSpark Hub has various resources and programs to learn digital skills and computer science, for students to prepare for the jobs of the future or even to start their own business.
    • Microsoft Imagine tools and resources are available to teachers at no cost to help their students learn the fundamentals of coding while engaging in fun projects.  Take it to the next level by leveraging contests through the Imagine Cup competition hub to help your students use those fundamentals to become creators of technology.  New for this school year, Imagine Cup Earth leverages a partnership with NASA that teaches earth sciences and programming at the same time. Inspire your students to build their skills and bring their ideas to life and possibly win prizes!  And, if you are interested in creating a coding club, our Coding Club Starter Kit will help get you started.
    • Microsoft Virtual Academy is offering even more no cost computer science courses for students at all levels, coupled with resources to help teachers better integrate technology into their curriculum.
    • Creative Coding Through Games And Apps, a new computer science curriculum designed to spark interest in teens for computer programming and for teachers with little or no background in the field, launched today and is free to teachers.
  7. With Angela Maiers and Choose2Matter, Inc. we’re providing teachers with a free, customizable and interactive e-book: “Liberating Genius, The First 20 Days.” This free e-book guides teachers through the introduction of Genius Hour.
  8. Even more free training, designed specifically for educators, is now available online and at your local Microsoft stores.

Supporting the best and the brightest.
The best technology will never be a substitute for great teachers. That’s why Microsoft supports teachers through learning communities that offer resources and peer connections. Programs like the Microsoft Innovative Educators enable teachers to connect, share best practices, and help break down barriers together. Applications for this year’s cohort of Microsoft Innovative Educators are accepted until Oct. 30, 2015.

Together, we’re off to a good start of the new school year and I’m looking forward to more to come … Teachers, we celebrate your superhero status!

Satya Nadella crowns the 2015 Imagine Cup World Champions

For 13 years, Microsoft Imagine Cup has inspired and challenged student developers worldwide to master new skills, build strong teams and bring entire technology projects from concept to completion. As a company originally founded by students, Microsoft believes in the power of young people connecting with technology to dream big, build creatively and boldly bring their ideas to life. Through our Microsoft Imagine program, students of all ages and skill levels get the world’s best coding tools and online learning at no cost, so they can build their future now.

On Friday, a brilliant team of students showed CEO Satya Nadella just what they’re capable of when he crowned Team eFitFashion of Brazil as the winning team of the 2015 Imagine Cup World Championship during a live broadcast and in front of an audience of 5,000 students, judges, partners and Microsoft employees at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.

Team eFitFashion’s project, Clothes For Me, is a marketplace for custom tailored clothes based on a person’s unique body size and shape.

“All of you represent that passion to dream the impossible and make it possible. I want you to keep that dream alive,” Nadella told the Imagine Cup competitors Friday. “What you started at this competition is going to grow, because of your passion, your dreams, your ability to take it forward and your ability to learn on the way. It’s such a pleasure for me to see the passion and the innovation you have demonstrated today.”

Our panel of distinguished judges – Thomas Middleditch, star of the hit HBO show “Silicon Valley;” Alex Kipman, inventor of HoloLens; and Jens Bergensten, lead developer of Minecraft – had their work cut out for them as they decided between the top three Imagine Cup teams, narrowed down from tens of thousands of teams from across the globe.

Over this past week, our judges chose a first-place winner in each of the three Imagine Cup competition categories: Team IzHard of Russia for Games, Team eFitFashion of Brazil for Innovation and Team Virtual Dementia Experience of Australia for World Citizenship. The first-place teams then competed in front of the world to take home the Imagine Cup and to receive a private meeting with Satya Nadella, our CEO.

The 2016 season of Imagine Cup launches today, as well, and it’s never too early for students to start dreaming up their next projects and getting prepared by visiting our website.

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We’re finding talented student developers at younger and younger ages, too – last week we shared the results of a new competition for students as young as 9 years old, and the work they did was impressive. We’ll have more opportunities for younger students coming in August and continuing all season long.

When Bill and Paul started Microsoft in college, they were talented and fearless. We see that spirit every day in the students who learn to code through Microsoft Imagine and go on to compete in the Imagine Cup. Working with students like these is an honor and a profound responsibility, one that Microsoft cherishes. Especially on days like today, when we see the incredible work students can do when they connect with technology and dream big.

Here are all the winners of the 13th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup!

Cheers,

Guggs

 

WORLD CHAMPION

  • Winners of the Imagine Cup trophy and a private meeting with Satya Nadella: Team eFitFashion, for its project Clothes For Me, Winner of the Innovation category

CATEGORY WINNERS

Games Category:

  • First Place, $50,000 prize and PAX Boot Camp: Team IzHard (Russia, “Ovivo”)
  • Second Place, $10,000 prize: Team Kuality Games (The Netherlands, “Bounce ‘em Up”)
  • Third Place, $5,000 prize: Team T.H.I.E.F. (China, “Lost Shadow”)

Innovation Category:

  • First Place, $50,000 prize and Microsoft Ventures Boot Camp: Team eFitFashion (Brazil, Clothes for Me)
  • Second Place, $10,000 prize: Team NoObs (Azerbaijan, Spinal)
  • Third Place, $5,000 prize: Team Siymb (United Kingdom, Siymb)

World Citizenship Category:

Ability Award:

Microsoft Student Partner of the year:

  • Jason Chee of Singapore

 

 

Building up to the Windows 10 launch, Special Olympics, //oneweek Hackathon and Imagine Cup – Weekend Reading: July 24 edition

Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Reading, where we bring you stories about Special Olympics athletes, the upcoming //oneweek Hackathon and Imagine Cup projects.

Swimmer Andy Miyares and sprinter Matthew Pascoe are two of four athletes Microsoft is following as they train, travel to and try to achieve their personal best in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles. Opening ceremonies are July 25 and will be broadcast live on ESPN, which will also present daily coverage of the Games. In October, Microsoft announced a three-year, multimillion dollar partnership with Special Olympics to modernize the nonprofit’s software and games management system and elevate it to the cloud.

Krista Conner and James O'Gorman of Microsoft work with the bee hives at the apiary at the Washington Arboretum on July 20, 2015. (Photography by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

Krista Conner and James O’Gorman of Microsoft work with the bee hives at the apiary at the Washington Arboretum on July 20, 2015. (Photography by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

The //oneweek Hackathon, which takes place the week of July 27, gives Microsoft employees the opportunity to think outside the box, dream big and try to make their ideas a reality. For James O’Gorman, whose family raises bees back in the U.K., the Beekeeper project is a chance to work with a team to conceptualize solutions to help sustain crop production and ensure a longer life for honeybees. The HackForHer initiative is also part of this year’s Hackathon. It encourages all hackers to keep the needs and concerns of women and girls in mind as they tinker on their projects.

Team PROGNOSIS, from Greece, is among the 33 teams from all over the world that will compete in the 2015 Imagine Cup World Finals next week.

Team PROGNOSIS, from Greece, is among the 33 teams from all over the world that will compete in the 2015 Imagine Cup World Finals next week.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, which affects between 7 million and 10 million people worldwide. But there are ways to help people deal with the effects of the disease. That’s the aim of Team PROGNOSIS, which is determined to help  via the Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 apps they designed to detect the early signs of Parkinson’s and provide support for patients and their families. And they are using Microsoft Azure to do it. They’re one of 33 teams from around the globe that will be in Seattle on July 27 to compete in the 2015 Imagine Cup World Finals, Microsoft’s global student technology competition. “Silicon Valley” star Thomas Middleditch will round out the trio of judges for this championship. Four Imagine Cup alumni teams – including last year’s overall World Champion – are also sharing their experiences in turning their projects into startup businesses.

As the company gears up to the July 29 launch of Windows 10, Blogging Windows began a series of posts with videos summarizing all you can do with the new operating system, as well as details on next week’s celebrations.

S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft

S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft

The recent releases of Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 4.6 are the next big step in the journey outlined in November to bring the productivity of Visual Studio and .NET to any developer working on any kind of application, while also delivering a new level of innovation in developer productivity for all Visual Studio developers. S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, provides all the details on these downloads.

Flipagram

Flipagram

In the world of apps and games, we found the App of the Week, Flipagram, which turns photos into custom music videos. There were also new and improved features on the Xbox App on Windows 10, “Jigty Jigsaw Puzzles,” “Gardens Inc. 2 – The Road to Fame,” “My Talking Ginger 2” and the updated Skype 5.6 for Android app.

From Redmond

As you can see by the news above, next week is going to be big. We’ll see the worldwide launch of Windows 10, //oneweek (where Microsoft employees worldwide gather for hackathons, celebrations and product expos), the world finals for the global student competition Imagine Cup and topping things off, the opening of the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles on Saturday. Microsoft is the event’s Official Technology Sponsor.

So, stay tuned. We’ve got an epic week planned.

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft Hyperlapse releases, Windows 10 editions and Detroit entrepreneurs – Weekend Reading: May 15 Edition

This week saw the release of Microsoft Hyperlapse, a new set of products that create smooth, stabilized time lapses from first-person videos. For consumers, Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile turns any long video – from a bumpy bicycle ride to a family stroll in the park – into a short, distilled version easily shared with friends and family. For professional shooters and serious video enthusiasts, Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro creates a hyperlapse using a Windows computer from video shot on any camera or device – including drone footage. A third product, Hyperlapse for Azure Media Services, lets developers integrate hyperlapse options into websites and apps. Read the full story to get all the details – including how an idea born in the mountains became a reality – and check out the project website, where you can find links to download the apps.

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced the Windows 10 editions, designed to deliver a more personal computing experience across a range of devices. The editions are: Windows 10 Home, the consumer-focused desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s; Windows 10 Mobile, for smaller, mobile touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets; Windows 10 Pro, a desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s with extra features to meet the needs of small businesses; Windows 10 Enterprise, which builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features for medium- and larger-sized organizations; Windows 10 Education, designed for school staff, administrators, teachers and students; and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, designed to deliver the best customer experience to business customers on smartphones and small tablets.

Jason Gittinger, second from right, started the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music. Photo by Ami Vitale.

Jason Gittinger, second from right, started the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music. Photo by Ami Vitale.

The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music, founded by musicians Jason and Sherry Gittinger, is part of an entrepreneurial scene reviving metropolitan Detroit. The school teaches students not just to rock out, but to collaborate, persevere and ignite a passion for learning.

Staff Sgt. Sarah Stimpson, pictured here with her daughter, Apprimay, found a new team mission in helping the members of her Microsoft Software & Systems Academy cohort successfully transition to civilian careers.

Staff Sgt. Sarah Stimpson, pictured here with her daughter, Apprimay, found a new team mission in helping the members of her Microsoft Software & Systems Academy cohort successfully transition to civilian careers.

On Monday, 31 participants graduated from the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Tacoma, Washington. Two of those graduates, Staff Sgt. Sarah Stimpson and Special Forces Chief Warrant Officer Travis Myers, shared their experience in the program and their goals for life after military service. MSSA is a full-time, 16-week IT job skills training program for active duty U.S. military service members who have received their separation date. The goal is to help each service member transition to high-quality careers in the IT industry, as well as to meet the economy’s demand for workers with computer science training. It works by combining technical education and training, career guidance and mentorship from Microsoft employees who are former service members.

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Students showed off their brainpower in all kinds of creative ways this week. Microsoft’s U.S. Imagine Cup National Finals gave students from around the country a chance to turn their cool ideas into reality and, for three winning teams, a shot at being in this year’s world competition and winning a $50,000 prize. Microsoft also hosted the Student Tech Fair at Loft One in New York on Wednesday to celebrate Microsoft YouthSpark Stars — student innovators using technology in impactful ways — and to showcase the latest Microsoft technology for students. Head to the Windows Blog and Microsoft YouthSpark to learn more about these amazing young people and discover Microsoft resources for students.

Marriott International

Marriott International

Owners of Windows Phone devices, PCs and tablets got more apps and games to download. The App of the Week, Marriott International, makes mobile check-in and checkout easy, while Plague Inc. arrived on Windows Phone and “Talking Ginger” pounced into the Windows Store. Bargains also came through the weekly Red Stripe Deals.

Veronica Ura Iturralde

Veronica Ura Iturralde

This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met the founders of Beyond Beanie, a social clothing company whose mission is to help children in need and empower women artisans like Veronica.

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft’s carbon fee, US Imagine Cup Finals and Detroit revitalization – Weekend Reading: April 17 Edition

Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Reading. We kick it off with stories about developments as a result of Microsoft’s three-year-old carbon fee, exciting ideas from the U.S. Imagine Cup finalists and Detroit entrepreneurs who are revitalizing the city.

Microsoft is improving environments and creating healthier lives through an internal carbon fee the company established three years ago that holds all its business groups financially responsible for the cost of reducing and compensating for their carbon emissions. The money collected through this fee has purchased more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of green power, reduced company emissions by 7.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, saved more than $10 million per year and reached more than 3.2 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

The Huebotics team created a challenging puzzle game.

The Huebotics team created a challenging puzzle game.

U.S. Imagine Cup finalists bring bright ideas to next week’s competition in San Francisco, such as an app that matches students with tutors, a system to enhance virtual reality and a brain-teasing game. The annual technology competition gives students a chance to learn from Microsoft business, technical and design experts as they work to turn their creative ideas into reality. Winners from the U.S. event April 22-24 will move on to the Imagine Cup World Semifinals, where they’ll vie for a spot at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle this July.

Detroit Bikes master builder Henry Ford II. (Photo by Ami Vitale.)

Detroit Bikes master builder Henry Ford II. (Photo by Ami Vitale.)

Then there was this story about Detroit entrepreneurs like Detroit Bikes, who are helping revitalize the city. Once the automotive center of the world, Detroit emerged from bankruptcy last year and is on the long road of tackling its blight, crime and poverty. A key part of its recovery is a lively entrepreneurial scene that’s revitalizing downtown Detroit with tech startups, investors, artisans, foodies, shop owners and transplants. Among them are Zak Pashak, the founder and president of Detroit Bikes, who moved to Detroit from Calgary with a mission to renew manufacturing in the city. With the work of master builder Henry Ford II, he’s making tools to help people get around and contributing to the revival of a once great American city.

Computer science “was a lot more creative than I originally thought it would be,” says Harika Dabbara, one of the graduates of last summer’s Girls Who Code program on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Abby Huang.)

Computer science “was a lot more creative than I originally thought it would be,” says Harika Dabbara, one of the graduates of last summer’s Girls Who Code program on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Abby Huang.)

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program will return to Microsoft’s campus. Harika Dabbara attended last summer’s Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, a free, seven-week computer science education program offered to rising junior and senior girls in cities around the U.S. Dabbara was among the 20 girls in the Seattle area who attended the program on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. Microsoft YouthSpark will host the program again this summer on campus and also in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Boston. The goal of the nonprofit Girls Who Code organization is to close technology’s gender gap – which is considerable. Microsoft is one of the tech companies that sponsor, host and implement the program, which this year is expanding nationwide from 19 programs reaching 375 girls, to 60 programs reaching 1,200.

FH_Datazen

Microsoft announced Tuesday the acquisition of Datazen Software, an industry leader in mobile business intelligence and data visualization on Windows, iOS and Android devices. Datazen is optimized for SQL Server Analysis Services and the overall Microsoft platform, enabling rich, interactive data visualization and KPIs on all major mobile platforms: Windows, iOS and Android. SQL Server Enterprise Edition customers with version 2008 or later and Software Assurance can now download the Datazen Server software for free. As a result, millions of people around the world are now be able to visualize and interact with data on their mobile devices, using the native mobile apps available at no charge at the respective app stores.

The latest addition to the Halo universe arrived in a big way with “Halo: Spartan Strike,” which launched on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iPhone, iPad and Steam. We also got a new batch of Red Stripe Deals, updates to apps and games, the App of the Week, “My Talking Tom” and “Car Racing 3D High on Fuel.”

devin2

And, this week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met Devin Sinha. By day, he works as a Microsoft engineer in Seattle, and by night he is the lead singer and guitarist in an indie band.

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft announces 2014 Worldwide Imagine Cup winners



July 31, 2014

SEATTLE

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Microsoft Corp. on Friday announced the winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the company’s premier competition for student technologists, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs from across the globe and a cornerstone of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative. Over the past 12 years the Imagine Cup has empowered more than 1.7 million students worldwide to do more and achieve more through technology. A first place team was chosen in each of the three competition categories: Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. One of those three winning teams was then named World Champion, taking home the Imagine Cup and receiving a private meeting with Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and technology advisor.

The winners were announced at the Imagine Cup World Championship ceremony during Microsoft’s TechReady conference at the Washington State Convention Center, in front of an audience of 5,000 students, judges, partners and Microsoft employees. The ceremony was the culmination of a weeklong event and celebrates the power of student innovation.

“There is not a business, vertical industry or person on the planet untouched by technology,” Nadella said. “Imagine Cup empowers students to hack tough problems, while learning and building off the work of others. Student developers play a huge role in bringing new technologies to life in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Congratulations to all the competitors for their hard work and creativity.”

Also announced was the expansion of the Imagine Cup program to make it available for even younger students worldwide who have the desire to create and code using Microsoft technology. Through the Imagine Cup program, students are empowered to dream big, build creatively, learn through competition and boldly bring their ideas to life as they gain lifelong career skills throughout their journey.

“Imagine Cup is about fostering new ideas and encouraging students to push the boundaries and imagine what’s possible now and in the future. Student developers play a huge role in helping to bring new technology innovations to life in ways that shape the way we work, live and play,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist, Microsoft. “Going forward, Microsoft’s Imagine Cup program aims to empower even more students, at younger ages, with the technologies, skills and resources to build a lifelong passion for technology, helping to grow the next generation of innovators. We’re very proud of the Imagine Cup program and even more proud of our student competitors from all around the globe.”

Imagine Cup World Finals
W
inners

The winners of the 12th annual Imagine Cup competitions are the following:

WORLD CHAMPION

Imagine Cup World Champion:

  • Imagine Cup trophy and private meeting with Bill Gates: Team Eyenaemia, Australia, Project: Eyenaemia; Winner of the World Citizenship Category

CATEGORY WINNERS

Games
Category
:

  • First Place, $50,000 prize and PAX Boot Camp: Team Brainy Studio, Russia, Project: TurnOn

  • Second Place, $10,000 prize: Team Bomon, Korea, Project: Under Bed

  • Third Place, $5,000 prize: Team Illogic, Egypt, Project: Puppy in Bubble

Innovation
Category
:

  • First Place, $50,000 prize and Microsoft Ventures Boot Camp: Team Estimeet, New Zealand, Project: Estimeet

  • Second Place, $10,000 prize: Team Tep, Hungary, Project: Tep

  • Third Place, $5,000 prize: Team Butterfly, Bahrain, Project: Nail Polish Mixer

World Citizenship
Category
:

  • First Place, $50,000 prize and Microsoft YouthSpark Boot Camp: Team Eyenaemia, Australia, Project: Eyenaemia

  • Second Place, $10,000 prize: Team SMART crew, Taiwan, Project: Versatility of Usens: From Lab to Life

  • Third Place, $5,000 prize: Team Access Earth, Ireland, Project: Access Earth

Thirty-four student teams representing 34 countries competed in the World Finals after winning national and online competitions around the globe. Microsoft awarded cash and other prizes to the winning teams, valued at more than $1 million across the yearlong Imagine Cup program. Other prizes include boot camps focused on career skills and project support, plus airfare and accommodation packages, and awards for the winning teams at the World Finals event this week.

About Microsoft Imagine Cup

In its 12th year, Microsoft Imagine Cup is the company’s premier technology program and competition providing opportunities for student technologists, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs from all academic backgrounds to collaborate, develop a technology application, create a business plan and gain a keen understanding of what is needed to bring a concept to market. Students can learn more about Imagine Cup by visiting http://www.imaginecup.com. A full list of competition categories is available at https://www.imaginecup.com/Custom/Index/Competitions.

Imagine Cup is focused on providing students with the opportunities, resources and experience to become the brightest young minds worldwide. In addition to skills and training that launch incredible careers, students receive unparalleled hands-on experience, guidance and mentorship from industry luminaries, opening doors to a future as an entrepreneur, innovator and technologist. Each of the first place winners in the competition’s three categories — Games, Innovation and World Citizenship — will receive a “boot camp” experience from Microsoft Ventures, Microsoft YouthSpark or PAX during which they will receive hands-on mentorship and project development support from Microsoft and industry experts.

“New technologies are being created every day and at a rapid pace — many of them by student developers, which is why we’ve invested long term in the Imagine Cup program,” Guggenheimer said. “The World Finalists who came to Seattle this year represent the best of student tech minds, and we are incredibly proud and inspired by all they have accomplished — we look forward to bringing them back to Seattle next year.”

About Microsoft YouthSpark

Microsoft YouthSpark is a global initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries by 2015. This companywide initiative includes Citizenship and other company programs that empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Learn more at www.microsoft.com/youthspark.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.


Imagine Cup World Finals 2014 winner Eyenaemia receives $50,000 and a private meeting with Bill Gates

Left to right, Code.org Founder Hadi Partovi, Reddit.com General Manager Erik Martin and Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella with Imagine Cup 2014 champions Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah of Australia.

Left to right, Code.org Founder Hadi Partovi, Reddit.com General Manager Erik Martin and Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella with Imagine Cup 2014 champions Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah of Australia.

On the final day of the Imagine Cup World Finals 2014 competition at the Washington State Convention Center, only one team emerged as the winner, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the 125 students and 34 teams who made it this far that everyone who’s a finalist should think of themselves as a winner – especially since the competition began with 33,000 students.

“It’s been an amazing week for us at Microsoft. We did our first company-wide hackathon this week and we had over 100,000 people participating. And then to have a chance on Friday to come here and spend time with student developers, I wish every week was like this where you just live amongst developers all the time,” said Nadella, who received a rock star welcome from the audience.

“We are the original student developer company and the original tools company,” he added.

Eyenaemia, a team of two medical students from Australia, took home $50,000 and the Imagine Cup Friday morning in front of 3,900 Microsoft’s global employees attending the TechReady19 event at the convention center. They’ll also sit down with Microsoft Founder and Technology Advisor Bill Gates for a private mentoring session and receive an invitation to work with Microsoft YouthSpark for a week. With Eyenaemia, Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah created a simple and non-invasive screening tool for anemia that analyzes and calculates the risk for conjunctiva through eye selfies.

The Aussies, who won first place in the World Citizenship category, were victorious over the other two first place winners in the Games and Innovation categories, Brainy Studio from Russia and Estimeet from New Zealand, who also won $50,000 each.

The winners from the World Citizenship, Games and Innovation categories faced the judges for a final round of questions, live, to determine the 2014 Imagine Cup champion.

The winners from the World Citizenship, Games and Innovation categories faced the judges for a final round of questions, live, to determine the 2014 Imagine Cup champion.

For the first time in Imagine Cup’s 12-year history, these three teams had to pass a gauntlet of questions given to them by Nadella, Hadi Partovi (co-founder of Code.org) and Erik Martin (general manager of Reddit) during a half-hour live session.

They each had 90 seconds to answer one question posed in three rounds: Dream it (describing the spark that led to the idea), Build it (explaining the technology behind the idea) and Live it (focusing on business and marketing plans and the notion that an invention is only useful if you can bring it to world).

“I like the way you thought about the world as developing and developed, and even thought about the business model for the two.  Maybe you want to talk a little bit about insurance companies in the developed world and what they may do with your app,” Nadella asked Eyenaemia. “And then in the developing world, you talked about NGOs and other organizations.  So tell me a little more about how you plan to go to market with these governmental or non-governmental organizations.

“So I have to admit that my experience with insurance companies is lacking. I come from Australia, and we live in a world of socialized medicine,” Seah said, to cheers and applause. “But to the best of my ability, I will answer your question. So we think that insurance companies can use this as a preventative health measure.”

Nadella, Partovi and Martin voted unanimously on Eyenaemia, though they seemed to enjoy answers from the other competitors.

New Zealand's Estimeet won first place in the Innovation category for their app, a tool to help friends track each other and meet up.

New Zealand’s Estimeet won first place in the Innovation category for their app, a tool to help friends track each other and meet up.

Nadella asked Estimeet, “It’s an amazing app. I was just wondering, you have some inspirational stories to tell from your friends perhaps? Or what made you build this?  Were your friends usually late to parties? Or what was it?”

“So there was this time we were meeting at the train station. And one of our friends said they would be right there in five minutes. And as you can imagine, we were still waiting there two hours later, Estimeet responded. “For the Imagine Cup, we had four members in our team. One of them would be constantly late to the meetings.  And then, funnily enough, he wasn’t able to make it here today.”

For these finalists, who had worked for months (sometimes years) on their projects and pitches, Friday’s awards ceremony was the frosting on a fantastic week filled with presentations, mentoring and new friendships as they competed for $1 million in travel, cash prizes and that sit-down with Bill Gates.

They came into the packed exhibition hall at the convention center welcomed not only by the TechReady attendees, but also by the Husky marching band and their rousing rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

In the World Citizenship category, SMART crew from Taiwan won second place and held up a Taiwan banner as they accepted their $10,000 check in navy blazers and blue button-up shirts. Their tool gives stroke patients the tools to measure their progress through a wearable motion detector system. Access Earth from Ireland won third place and received $5,000 for their “TripAdvisor for the mobility impaired.”

Russia's Brainy Studio won first place in the Games category for TurnOn, which features an electrical spark  of the same name, and a conservation message. At right, “Tetris” creator and Games judge Alexey Pajitnov.

Russia’s Brainy Studio won first place in the Games category for TurnOn, which features an electrical spark of the same name, and a conservation message. At right, “Tetris” creator and Games judge Alexey Pajitnov.

In the Games category, announced by “Tetris” creator and Games judge Alexey Pajitnov, the BOMON team from South Korea won second place and $10,000 for their “Under Bed” game. Illogic from Egypt placed third and earned $5,000 for “Puppy in Bubble,” a mobile physics-based puzzle.

In addition to the awards, the event launched a new partnership with Code. Org and its “Hour of Code” program.

“One of the things we want to do over the next year is continue to grow the scale of the folks that participate in the Imagine Cup. Part of how we want to do that is we want to continue to scale not just universities around the world, but to a younger generation of developers,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice-president and chief evangelist for Microsoft. “It turns out we have 7,000 Microsoft student partners around the globe who can take that program and take it to universities to high school, all around the world and get more and more students involved in coding.”

Guggenheimer also announced that next year’s Imagine Cup will again be in Seattle, which was a first for the Imagine Cup World Finals, which has previously been held in Egypt, Russia and New York.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Weekend Reading: Aug. 1st Edition — Hackathon heats up //oneweek, a new Microsoft board member, Imagine Cup finalists compete in Seattle

Buckle up, Weekend Reading faithful. It’s been a blockbuster. As the sun set on July, it’s doubtful we could’ve packed in much more, even if we tried. Check it out.

Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella threw out the playbook on the traditional company meeting this year, opting instead for a week’s worth of events to get everyone fired up. With a hackathon and product fair, //oneweek did just that, while hatching some innovative ideas in the process.

Speaking of leadership, Microsoft, Wednesday, announced the addition of global wireless pioneer John W. Stanton, to the company’s board of directors. The move increases the board’s size to 11 members.

As Microsoft was reimagining the company meeting, 34 Imagine Cup finalist teams from as many countries were vying to be crowned champion. Grand prize? A private meeting with Bill Gates. Using code as their universal language, teams brought their ideas and their energy, and in one case, a robot panda.

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Also in the “new” category this week: an update to Windows Phone 8.1 that brings Cortana to China and the United Kingdom, while bringing everyone Live Folders for configuring your Start Screen; an Apps Corner for configuring your phone with specific apps and features; and Store Live Tile Updates to make finding apps even easier.

Microsoft also announced the addition of a two-star general to its ranks. As the company’s new vice president of military affairs, Chris Cortez will work to expand education and hiring efforts for vets, and be an advocate for new and existing Microsoft employees who have served in the military.

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In app news this week: Dig Evite? Meet Previte and make your summer party planning even easier, or earn rewards for watching T.V. and listening to music with Viggle, available now on Windows and Windows Phone. Also for music lovers, don’t miss a single show: Quello brings full-length live performances to you, on-demand, on Windows devices.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we got ready to go back to school by awarding a Surface Pro 3 to the first winner of our #8WordEssay contest! Join us on our page for the next chance at a prize.

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And from Snaps, this week, a candid shot of Nadella, getting ready backstage Monday at the Microsoft Company Forum, an employee event.

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Hope this edition of Weekend Reading inspires you to break tradition, create and innovate. See you back here next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff