MANILA, Philippines: Indonesia’s Team CIMOL’s innovative web application that combats the proliferation of fake news online, took home the top prize in the first ever regional leg of the Microsoft Imagine Cup for Southeast Asia.
Named “Hoax Analyzer,” the web-based app is able to determine whether certain contextual information is categorically false.
The three student team from Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia, hopes that their invention would help users to filter out false information and verify the sources of a claim, before spreading them.
Team CIMOL beat out nine other teams to win the top prize.
Imagine Cup, often dubbed as the "Olympics of student technology competitions,” is an annual global student technology competition that has been held since 2003.
Microsoft Asia Pacific developer experience lead, Dave Miller said that Imagine Cup has been a platform to help students “turn their dreams into reality” for the last 15 years.
“This year's regional finalists brought great ideas to the stage, and we see a lot of potential in these projects, in solving some of the biggest challenges today, across the region.
“Imagine Cup is just the beginning for many of these budding innovators and entrepreneurs, and we are excited to be part of their journey," said Miller.
Teams comprising students across the region pitched their ideas and projects in an intense full-day event on April 24, to a panel of distinguished judges.
The judges included deputy secretary-general of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, Dr AKP Mochtan; founder of STAT Innovations and creator of Eyenaemia, Dr Jennifer Tang; co-founder of Tech One Global, Lars Jeppesen; founder of HeX, Shuo Hung Chen; Microsoft Asia Pacific's technical evangelist lead, Nigel Parker; and PLDT Enterprise Core Business Reasearch and Development's vice president and head, Joey Limjap.
Dr Jennifer Tang was part of the winning team in the global Imagine Cup Finals in 2014 for Eyenaemia, a simple non-invasive screening tool for anaemia.
“Imagine Cup is a great platform for young developers and innovators to bring their ideas to life.
“Past contestants like myself, have benefitted from mentorship of industry leaders and seniors, who helped hone our projects and skills, with the goal of building real start-ups," said Dr Tang.
"I look forward to seeing some of these projects coming to fruition in the near future," she added.
Malaysia was represented by Team Solvere; Nik Ahmad Faisal Mohd Kamarolzaman and Muhammad Syukri Mohamad Sainal, both from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
Although, they did a commendable job in presenting their invention called SMAD BOT, an interactive advertising board that engages consumers and turn the interaction into sales, they did not get a spot in the world finals.
Team HeartSound from Singapore and Team Opticode from the host country, the Philippines, won the first runner-up and second runner-up places respectively.
Team HeartSound pitched a smart wearable device that combines the function of a stethoscope and an electrocardiography machine that actively monitors the wearer's heartbeat.
The device alerts doctors wirelessly of any abnormality, so that patients can receive treatment immediately without any delay.
Team Opticode meanwhile, created a “virtual assistant” mobile app to aid the visually impaired.
The app utilises the smartphone camera to identify objects in the real world.
All three winners will be taking their innovations to the next level at the global 2017 Imagine Cup Finals to be held in Seattle, USA in July.
In an effort to create greater opportunity for young innovators from the Southeast Asian region, four teams from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand were also selected to participate in the world finals, in addition to the winners.
A "People's Choice" award was given to Bangladesh's Team Parasitica's medical diagnostic app through an online voting component of the competition.
The world finals will feature a total of 50 teams from all over the globe who will be vying for the top prize of US $100,000, as well as mentorship opportunity with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, to bring their winning solution to the market.
In its 15th year, Microsoft co-organised the Southeast Asian Regional Finals as part of ASEAN's 50th Anniversary Summit, to help develop and unleash the potential of young talents in Southeast Asia.
In addition to that, the tech giant also aims to foster growth of the next generation of student and help them to achieve more in the digital age.