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Imagine Cup grant finalists named

Two African teams are among the 13 finalists for the Imagine Cup Grant – a programme that helps Imagine Cup participants to take their projects to market.

The Imagine Cup is a worldwide student technology competition that encourages students to form a team and build an application, with the opportunity to win cash prizes and travel.  More than 350 students from 75 countries traveled to Sydney, Australia, for the Worldwide Finals in July this year.

Following the competition, finalists are chosen for Imagine Cup Grants, a USD3 million programme as part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark programme, which is the company’s commitment to reach 300 million youths in the next 3 years through technology, training, and experiences that empower them to imagine and realize their full potential. 

Last year, students from Croatia, Ecuador, Jordan and the United States won the grants and received funding and other support in the first year of the grants program.

Among the applicants, the 13 teams selected as finalists received the highest marks based on a combination of criteria: impact & viability, team quality & motivation, solution design & motivation and problem definition.   The winning grant applicants will be announced in December 2012 at the Social Innovation Summit in the Silicon Valley, and awarded with a grant package in the form of cash, software, resources and other on the ground support to help them establish a nonprofit or for-profit organization to bring their idea to reality.

This year’s grant finalists include from Africa:

Team Cypher 256 from Kampala, Uganda. Their project, WinSenga, is an affordable mobile antenatal diagnosis solution implemented via a Window Phone. It comprises a modified Pinard Horn to which microphone is attached to detect and pick sounds which it feeds into the application. From this the application enables diagnosis to be carried out.

The antenatal diagnosis is hence made timely, effective and most importantly, affordable. It can be used by medical personnel as well as expectant mothers, thus empowering them to monitor their pregnancies. WinSenga is also used to generate real-time statistical information on trends like Fetal Heart Rate (FHR) during labor, effectively substituting and/or complimenting the partograph.

Team Vivid from Cairo, Egypt. Their project, Health Buzz, consists of two parts: a mobile application that physicians can use to access a patient’s electronic medical records, and a cloud-based storage system that is inexpensive and doesn’t require additional hardware. 

The front-end is a Windows Phone app. Users (physicians, patients and pharmacists) can access the electronic medical records using an internet connection. They can retrieve, manipulate and save data to the cloud. The backend is a cloud computing service based on Windows Azure. This service helps to retrieve, manipulate and save medical records (data). Utilizing a cloud service helps achieve one of the solution’s main goals: building cost-effective solution with the available hardware.

The solution is provided through mobile phones, cloud service and low-cost subscriptions.

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