Ukrainian Team Wins Microsoft Imagine Cup


The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. The Imagine Cup 2012 theme: Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems, inspired many student teams to address the problems faced by differently-abled individuals. Twenty-three percent of Imagine Cup projects this year were created to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments and diseases that limit a human’s physical mobility, according to a press release from Microsoft.

The winning Software Design project developed by Ukrainian Team quadSquad allows deaf individuals to communicate verbally using custom-designed sensory gloves and a smartphone application to translate sign language gestures into speech. More than 350 students from 75 countries traveled to Sydney after competing in local and online events, representing the best and brightest selected to compete in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals.

The device, Enable Talk, which uses a pair of gloves equipped with 15 flex sensors and a microcontroller that identifies the positions of the hands using American Sign Language, which are then transmitted via Bluetooth to a Windows Phone device that uses the Microsoft Speech API and Bing API to translate the signs into audio. With its victory, the team won US$25,000. Team quadSquad will also be eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants, a three-year, US$3 million investment from Mircrosoft.

In 2004, more than 275 million people globally had moderate to profound hearing impairment, 80 percent of them in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization’s most recent data. The quadSquad team expects to sell millions of these devices across the world.

“We were inspired to help our friends who are hearing- and speech-impaired to have the ability to communicate like everyone else,” said Maxim Osika, Team quadSquad. (See source info)

At MLJ Adoptions, we are excited that citizens from one of our program countries, Ukraine, won such a prestigious competition. We deeply appreciate the impact Enable Talk will likely have on another vulnerable population, the deaf and hearing impaired. Congratulations!

For more information about adopting from Ukraine, please visit our program page or sign up for more information!

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MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.