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University of Washington Students Win Microsoft Imagine Cup Americas Region Finals

Date: April 05, 2022

This March, thousands of students from across the Americas competed in the regional finals of this year’s Microsoft’s Imagine Cup. Now in its 20th year, the competition challenges students to address social issues in the areas of earth, education, health, or lifestyle using technology. Team Melodic, composed of Xiaoyang Qiu, Jinyao Ouyang, and Shuoxuan Wang from the University of Washington’s MS in Technology Innovation program at the Global Innovation Exchange, was awarded first place in the Americas region. They developed an integrated system that provides professional speech therapy for children with hearing impairment.

Team Melodic reacts to being announced as the Americas region winners.

Prelingual deaf children can benefit from therapy to help them form proper sounds crucial for speech, but professional speech therapy is expensive and time consuming. Team Melodic’s solution leverages the power of the Azure cloud-computing platform to provide real-time analysis of mouth movements and sounds, and uses that information to provide breath, mouth, and sound training to children. The system also gives speech pathologists the ability to create custom, high-quality, broadly deployable therapies at costs lower than traditional methods.  

“We’re extremely grateful for Microsoft giving us the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of children with hearing impairments,” said Shuoxuan Wang. “The Imagine Cup helped inspire the further development of our project, and we’re proud to use technology for such a meaningful purpose.”

The team now advances to the world championships where they will compete with the two other regional winners for the grand prize of $100,000 and a mentoring session with Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella. 

Team Melodic was one of four teams from GIX that advanced to the regional finals. Three of the four projects were born directly out of the hardware/software lab course run by Dr. John Raiti. “I’m incredibly proud of the work done by Team Melodic and the other three teams that competed in the finals,” said Dr. Raiti. “The Imagine Cup challenged the students to come up with an idea, refine their prototypes, and ultimately make a difference in the world, and that’s exactly what they did.” 

The three other teams included Team FOGCare, Team Lakit, and Team NutritionHelper.  

  • Team FOGCare created a personal wearable assistant system that detects freezing of gait in people with Parkinson’s disease, which affects more than 10mm people worldwide. It provides rhythmic auditory stimulation treatment to help people get through the frozen gait. Team FOGCare is Xiaowei Wang, Yunhan Wang, Rui Huang, and Lu Yin
  • Lakit is a mobile app bundled with a wearable voice assistant that helps dementia caregivers sync daily schedules and maintain their own mental health. Team Lakit is Jingzhi Xu, Cheng-tin Tsai, Wenyu Wang, and Qiuyi Yang
  • Team NutritionHelper created a system that scans menu and food label text and projects food allergy warnings by leveraging the power of Azure computer vision. Team NutritionHelper is Saif Mustafa, Yumeng Li

Learn more about the Microsoft Imagine Cup at http://www.imaginecup.microsoft.com and about the UW’s Global Innovation Exchange at http://www.gixnetwork.org