The Imagine Cup World Finals 2017 has recently concluded, and the Philippines’ own Team Opticode finished in the Top 10! Team Opticode, the third place team at the SEA Regional Finals, presented their mobile app Minerva, a virtual assistant (a la Cortana or Siri) that is geared to improve quality of life for the visually impaired.
The young trio of Team Opticode from the Philippines participated and wowed audiences at the 15th annual Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition where students from around the world team up to solve some of the world’s biggest problems with technology.
“This is a most impressive accomplishment for Team Opticode. The Imagine Cup is the world’s most prestigious student tech competition and we’re extremely proud of the team for all they’ve accomplished,” said Microsoft Philippines Managing Director Bertrand Launay. “A top 10 finish among 54 other teams from 39 countries in the World Finals shows that the Philippines can compete with the best in the world.”
Considered the “Olympics of Technology” by computer science and engineering students, the Imagine Cup brings together student developers worldwide to help resolve some of the world’s toughest challenges. They compete for the chance to win US$100,000 and a mentorship session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
The Philippines was represented by Team Opticode which was composed of Christian Lou Cepe, Jasmine Pearl Raymundo, and Rochel Reyes. All of them are students of Lyceum of of the Philippines University-Laguna. Their mobile app, Minerva, a virtual assistant mobile application for the visually impaired that taps on the power of the smartphone camera to identify objects in the real world.
Using various cognitive services running on Microsoft Azure, Minerva identifies objects in the immediate environment of users. A user can simply point their smartphone cameras at an object, say a pizza, and Minerva describes it using the phone’s speakers.
The road to the top 10 in the world was a long one for Team Opticode, having to battle national and regional competition before qualifying for the final. They emerged as grand winners of the National Finals before winning second runner-up in the Southeast Asia Finals, besting 7 other ASEAN teams.
“Team Opticode’s win at the Regional Finals was huge for the Philippines, as we hosted the first ever Imagine Cup Regional in the country — in line with the ASEAN summit. The Philippines is home to a lot of great tech innovators and is primed for a win in this competition since 2010.” said Launay.
The Philippines is embracing digital technology. The strong showing from the young technologists from Lyceum in this year’s Imagine Cup showcases the growing talent in the country, that Filipino students can compete with the best in the world. The only other ASEAN team to finish in the top 10 of the Imagine Cup World Finals was Nepal.
“At the forefront of innovation are young creative people who see the world and flip it on its head. Team Opticode is a prime example of how digital transformation can be used to improve lives. These young upstarts are pushing boundaries and turning their visions into reality,” said Launay.