Three Romanian computer science students from the University Politehnica of Bucharest won the 2016 Microsoft Imagine Cup with a wearable device that tracks inner ear balance and spinal posture.
Flavia Oprea, Iulian Mateșică and Cristian Alexandrescu founded ENTy. Inner ear and spinal issues can lead to a lot of pain for patients, but they can be difficult and costly to measure. The technology uses an accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope to track movement in real time. That data is then uploaded to an Azure SQL database that doctors can access.
“The medical industry is based on old technology and very expensive, so we said ‘OK, maybe we can make a cheaper technology, an affordable technology,’” Oprea said.
ENTy has been tested with four doctors and approximately 375 patients.
Thursday, winners of three categories — games, innovation and world citizenship — were chosen from 35 finalists. ENTy won the innovation category. Each winner got a check for $50,000, and ENTy will get a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Team AMANDA, engineering students from Aristotle University of Thessaloníki in Greece, won in the world citizenship category. Their project is named for Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old Canadian girl who committed suicide as a result of bullying. It uses virtual reality and the Microsoft Band to put people in bullying situations and monitor how they react. The goal is to identify bullying tendencies and make it easier to treat them.
PH21, a team of students from studying computer engineering at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand took home the prize in the games category. Their puzzle-based game, Timelie, centers around a woman who steals a device that can see into the future, and a young girl whose ability to manipulate time was used to create the device. Players can manipulate time to figure out the answers to puzzles that will allow them to escape with the device.
This year’s finalists were whittled down from more than 150 teams that advanced from national finals events. The final round was at Garfield High School in Seattle and judged by John Boyega, who played Finn in Stars Wars: The Force Awakens; Dr. Jennifer Tang, one half of 2014 Imagine Cup Champion, Team Eyenaemia; and Microsoft Computer Science Curriculum Developer Kasey Champion.