Meet the 2021 Imagine Cup Top 4 teams!
Published Mar 31 2021 03:44 PM 30.6K Views

For the 19th annual Imagine Cup, thousands of student developers from around the world submitted impactful tech innovations. Teams were challenged to bring an idea to life that tackles a local or global issue in one of four competition categories: Earth, Education, Healthcare, and Lifestyle. Out of 40 World Finalists that pitched their projects at the World Finals, four teams were selected to advance.


These teams have reimagined solutions for issues in sustainable farming, remote learning and teaching, access to healthcare, accessibility, and that brings purpose and meaning to our lives. At the core of the solutions is innovative and original use of Azure technology, including IoT, Artificial Intelligence, App Services, Visual Studio Code, and so much more.  


Meet the Top 4 teams!


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Team ProTag, New Zealand 

Earth category

Project: ProTag


Project description: ProTag is a smart ear tag for livestock that can detect the early onset of illness in real time - lowering costs and increasing welfare. Embedded temperature, movement, and location sensors collect data that is analyzed onboard to identify animal behaviors such as chewing, walking, and sleeping. This semi-processed data is transmitted over LoRaWAN to a cloud database, to be combined with farm features and feed into AI models trained to detect illnesses. Keeping animals healthy doesn't just improve welfare; it increases productivity, leading to a more sustainable way of farming. Team member Tyrel Glass shared that, “The recent explosion of AI and IoT presents a unique opportunity to rethink the way farming is approached. We can put a small, low-cost ear tag on livestock that provides farmers with the insights they need to manage or even prevent illnesses. It's an exciting, fast-paced space tackling some of the big sustainability issues we face in feeding a growing global population.” 


After being selected for the top 4, ProTag shared, "It's an awesome validation that our idea has some good merit, and we're excited to take it further." Looking forward to the World Championship in May, they say, "We're excited for the mentorship and to take the idea we've got now and polish it over the next six weeks."


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Team Hand-On Labs, United States

Education category

Project: Hands-On Labs


Project description: Hands-On Labs is a set of remote laboratories that allow students to observe and remotely control physical tools online in real-time for their courses. The team aims to provide an active learning experience to students from any background all around the world. The platform uses Azure App Services, Storage, and Visual Studio to allow unprecedented control over various aspects such as lighting levels, camera angles, audio controls, and various control modes. The team believe that remote learning should be accessible to all students, sharing, We need to bring active learning to students fingertips in order to raise leaders of tomorrows who can experiment, solve problems and are not afraid of making mistakes as they can observe and learn from them". 


After finding out they were selected to advance, the team shared, "It's an honor for us to be among all these amazing students. We both come from underprivileged communities and we want to make sure everyone has access to the education they deserve." 


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Team REWEBA, Kenya

Healthcare category

Project: REWEBA


Project description: REWEBA is an IoT-based early warning system for babies. It remotely monitors infant parameters during regular post-natal screening. The IoT device is used to measure infant parameters and sends measurements to doctors remotely, allowing for immediate interventions saving infants from fatal diseases and reducing infant mortality rates. It combines a variety of technologies to provide innovative functionalities for infant screening. The team are committed to solving problems faced by infants and parents in their community, sharing that “Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest under-5 mortality rate in the world. We can solve this problem using REWEBA, a remote infant monitoring system that can be used in marginalized areas thus giving everyone equal access to healthcare." 


After being selected for the top 4, the team said, "We have no words, it means a lot." Looking ahead to the World Championship, the team are "...very excited to work with mentors {moving forwards} and give it our best."


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Team Threeotech, Thailand

Lifestyle category

Project: JustSigns


Project description: JustSigns is a web application for content creators to create sign language captions to improve media accessibility for hard of hearing viewers. JustSigns accepts Youtube video URLs, retrieves video captions, and translates all the sentences into Thai sign language grammar. Then, the application will generate a 3D sign language animation which the user can view side by side with the original video. The team's goal is to make media accessible for all, sharing that, "We believe that our solution could radically transform the way hearing-impaired people live, work and play by allowing them to learn new things and improve themselves, to enjoy movies that they’ve never really understood before, and to explore what interests them as they are now able to access all media in the world".


When they made it into the top 4, the team shared, "It's unbelievable, it means a lot to us to be here. We think Imagine Cup is a huge competition, and we want to show the world our solution."



Taking on the challenges they have seen in their own lives, these incredible students have brought their passion, ingenuity, and perspective to a global stage. Their ideas push the envelope on what’s possible in order to improve our society and create a brighter and more inclusive future for all.


Join us in congratulating these teams’ incredible success so far, and follow their journey on Twitter and Instagram as they head to the World Championship to compete. The 2021 World Champion will take home USD75,000 and mentorship with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.


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