124 teams from around the world will flock to New York City for the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals from July 8-13. The students who make up the winning teams are the best of over 350,000 people from 183 countries who originally entered. More than ever before, the Imagine Cup finalists have proven themselves to be global citizens extraordinaire as they identify ways to create a better future by using technology to solve the world’s toughest problems.
You know how the Olympics has multiple ways in which to compete (swimming, pole vault, gymnastics, etc…)? So too the Imagine Cup has 9 categories in which to compete – one of which is Window 7 Touch. Some of the competitions are conducted regionally, some online on a worldwide basis. The Windows 7 Touch challenge is done on a worldwide basis and we’d like to congratulate the French team winners who used Windows 7 on a touchscreen PC to help autistic individuals create a better means of communication. By clicking on pictographic icons, they can string together a series of symbols to create a sentence. The PC can then speak those sentences back. The ability to communicate in such a manner means that those living with autism can now do more tasks independently without a caretaker to speak or communicate for them. The freedom to create and respond will ultimately change the lives of French-autism sufferers and hopefully the lives of those around the world.
The French-team was inspired by a meeting with a family with autistic children. Said Anthony Froissant (a team member),
“The family explained us their needs, and when we realised how simple, but also how helpful this idea would be, we decided it was our chance to bring these people some relief, to ease their burden.We wanted to create something that would be useful and that would make people’s lives easier, not just a show-off of our skills.”
Team India Rose will be able to showcase their project at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals in New York City from July 8-13th and will then receive their award onstage at the Worldwide Festival on July 13th. You can find information about the webcast that will run of the World Festival from 4-7pm PDT here: www.imaginecup.com.
After Imagine Cup, they have many plans for the project. Among those, they mainly want to establish a community of users who will be able share their pictograms and get help via the application. They want to bring parent closer to their child, but also to other people who face the same difficulties. They plan to make the source code open, allowing people to help us improve it, for example by providing translations or rewriting the code to make it work more efficiently.
Stay tuned for the launch of the Worldwide People’s Choice Award in coming weeks, where you will be able to learn more about each finalist project and vote for your favorite at www.imaginecup.com. Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists!
Have questions? Ask me @kristinalibby.