Team BUG5, a group of three young innovators from Laos has earned the nomination to represent Laos in the South East Asia Regional Final Round of 15th Microsoft Imagine Cup 2017, Microsoft’s global accelerator program to empower the next generation of computer science students. They will make history as the very first Laotian team to be qualified for Imagine Cup regional finals.
Team BUG5 was able to compete and win against teams from multiple countries; Myanmar, Cambodia and Brunei. The team is going to participate in the South East Asian New Markets regional final round, to be held in Philippines from April 23 to April 27. Their project, is a solution for visually impaired people to be able to use smart phones like anyone else. Second place was won by team Arcane from Cambodia and Team one from Brunei won the third place
Winning team members; Thanongsine Chanthakham, Khatthaphone Tamongsoumuangxay and Saiphin Phetamphone are all students of National University of Laos, Faculty of Engineering, Division of Computer Emerging and Information Technology.
“We have learned that there are 285 million people estimated to be visually impaired, 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision per reports of World Health Organization. Those people live their lives without seeing the world. If we cannot see the world around us, even the easiest day to day task can be very challenging. Smartphones have changed our lives but smartphones are not designed for people with low vision to use it easily. We wanted to find a technological solution for visually impaired people so that they can start using a smart phone like any of us would do.” Said the Team Captain, Thanongsine Chanthakham.
10 Winning teams, one each from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Srilanka, Nepal, Laos and Bangladesh will take part at the competition at Manila in Philippines. Top 7 teams from SEA Finals move to World Finals.
Michelle Simmons, General Manager – South East Asia New Markets, Microsoft APAC said, “Imagine Cup is our flagship program to nurture young innovative talent and highlight the incredible solutions they dream up to change the world. Every year we are inspired by the level of creativity, talent, skills and vision projected by these young students throughout the selection process of Imagine Cup. I am pleased that this year we have a winning team from Laos for the first time who will compete against 9 other teams from countries across the region. I wish Team BUG5 and all other teams success at the South-East Asia Regional Finals.”
This year, over 100 countries are expected to compete at various rounds and top 30 teams worldwide will head to Redmond for the world Finals competition round. Microsoft Imagine Cup is a global competition that empowers the next generation of computer science students to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications that shape how we live, work and play. Every year tens of thousands of students from across the globe compete for cash, travel and prizes and for the honor of taking home the Imagine Cup.
Over the years, the competition has given the world promising young innovators and entrepreneurs platforms to work with their ideas and take it to the next level. It has become one of the biggest accelerator programs in the world with the backing of Microsoft, one of most notable global tech giants.