First published on MSDN on May 06, 2018
The U.S. Imagine Cup Finals took place in San Francisco this week during an exciting three-day event where Microsoft exposed students to networking opportunities, innovative technology and community celebration. Out of nearly 4,000 students across the U.S., 12 student finalist teams competed to win up to $11,000 and the chance to advance to the Imagine Cup World Finals, where one team will win $100,000. The competing teams presented and demoed their tech projects to a panel of VIP judges, gained exposure to industry pros and received invaluable tech and startup mentorship from senior leaders across the community. The 12 teams were (in alphabetical order):
Boomerang (Johns Hopkins & UC Berkeley)
Fruitful Health (UC Davis & UC Los Angeles
FyveBot (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Loro (Harvard University)
OneHealth (St. John’s University, University of Waterloo, & MIT)
Pengram (UC Berkeley)
Prometheus (Arizona State University)
SecondConscience (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tech Fit (Clemson University)
Vinculum (UMass Amherst, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, & Northwestern University)
VRbal (Persons School of Design & School of Visual Arts & Columbia University)
Zelixa (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo & Harvard University)
U.S. Winners Announced!
Six winning teams took home cash prizes and advanced to the Imagine Cup World Finals this summer, where they will represent the United States for the chance to take home the trophy and win the $100,000 grand prize:
1st Place Winner ($10,000) + Judges’ Mixed Reality Award ($1,000)
Pengram from UC Berkeley
Pengram includes Will Huang, Vedant Saran, and Bill Zou created an AR/VR platform which allows engineers from around the world to be holographically ‘teleported’ into a workspace when needed. For example, if an operator that is repairing a $100,000 medical device needs help, they will be able to wire into our service, and using a Hololens, they will be able to watch an expert on that device perform the repairs in 3D. Pengram was mentored by Allen Yang from UC Berkeley.
2nd Place Winner ($8,000) + Judges’ Data & IoT Award ($1,000)
Boomerang from Johns Hopkins & UC Berkeley
Boomerang includes Alvin Wan, Daniel Weng, and Jane Wang created a hybrid device and smartphone platform that monitors inhaler location for patients with asthma, notifying them of missing devices. In collaboration with trusted contacts, institutions, and care teams, Boomerang provides peace of mind for patients with asthma. Boomerang was mentored by Jody Tversky (Dr. T) from John Hopkins.
3rd Place Winner ($6,000)
Loro from Harvard University
Loro includes David Hojah and Johae Song created a platform for providing a smart companion robot that is a connectivity hub for wheelchair users. Loro empowers its users with increased independence and connection by enhancing their vision, communication, and safety. Loro was mentored by Alice Ly from Harvard.
4th Place Winner ($4,000) + Judges’ Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Award ($1,000)
Prometheus from Arizona State University
Prometheus includes Facundo Santiago, Murong He, and David Azcona created Fire detection powered by AI by combining surveillance drone capabilities with concepts of deep learning to create software that detects early-stage wildfires.
5th Place Winner ($2,000)
Vinculum from UMass Amherst, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, & Northwestern University
Vinculum includes Rachana Lingutla, Ethan Wright, and John Franklin created multi-platform facial recognition application that aims to reunite separated refugee families. In 2016, approximately 60,000 minors came to the EU unaccompanied, of which 10,000 of these children are missing. Vinculum provides an open and easy access data source for finding missing people. By leveraging facial recognition technology, Vinculum accepts submitted photos of users' missing relatives and checks if their loved ones have appeared in another location; perhaps at another refugee camp or national border checkpoint. The application can be accessed via a web application, a chatbot and SMS. Our open and multi-platform application aims to be simple enough for anyone to use to reunite with their loved ones. Vinculum was mentored by Pranav Gokhale from the University of Chicago.
6th Place Winner ($1,000)
Zelixa from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo & Harvard University
Zelixa includes Selynna Sun and Carra Wu created a Hololens app and online learning platform designed to help dyslexic kids learn to read. Aiming to tackle the biggest challenges facing efforts at dyslexia therapy, Zelixa is the first app to uniquely combine mixed reality, gamification, and cutting edge scientific research into a tool that is immediately transferable, aimed at improvement, and even fun.
More About Imagine Cup
Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s global student tech 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 high school (16+) and university students from across the globe compete for cash, travel and prizes, and for the honor of taking home the Imagine Cup! It is an opportunity for each student to break new ground, solve problems facing the world today and maybe even turn their idea into a business. Last year’s U.S. winner, Farmalytics from Stanford and UC San Diego created field sensors that measure important parameters vital for crop growth, providing intelligent analysis and actionable information in several languages to farmers through a web and mobile app.
A panel of six VIP judges chose the U.S. winners, judging the team demos and presentations based on their concept, technology, innovation, and feasibility.
Derek Burney, CVP of Commercial Software Engineering, GSIV and Americas, Microsoft
Erin Pangilinan, Co-Founder, ARVR Academy
Jane Fang, Director of Mixed Reality Academy, Microsoft
Kitty Yeung, Senior Program Manager of the Garage Space, Microsoft
Matt Fay, Data Scientist, Zipline
Ruth Cox, CEO, Prospect Silicon Valley
Watch the U.S. Imagine Cup Finals Online
Missed the livestream? Watch the recording at
There, viewers can listen to Derek Burney’s keynote and watch all 12 teams pitches.