Swinburne Sarawak wins Microsoft competition, to represent Malaysia at world semi-final

The two winning teams from Swinburne Sarawak with Hii (right) and Augustus (left) after winning the Innovation and Games categories.

The two winning teams from Swinburne Sarawak with Hii (right) and Augustus (left) after winning the Innovation and Games categories.


KUCHING: Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus students recently emerged winners in two out of three categories in the Malaysian leg of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup and have now set their sights on winning the world semi-final of the technology competition.

In the just-concluded national level competition at Multimedia University in Cyberjaya, a combined team of engineering and computing students from Swinburne Sarawak took the top prize in the Innovation category while their multimedia design peers won the Games category.

Each team bagged a RM5,000 prize money and will represent Malaysia in the semi-final.

Swinburne Sarawak did not compete in the third category, World Citizenship.

The winner in the Innovation category was a device that uses sensors to aid the visually-challenged. Proposed by students Daniel Vong Wei Liang, Sim Hon Ren, Voon Wei Liang and Ivan Ling Ting Yang, the Mobility and Navigation Aid, or MANA in short, attaches to a white cane and alerts the user of obstacles via a Windows mobile device.

“The students came up with the idea themselves and I’m proud of their innovative approach, more so for applying the skills and knowledge they learnt to make a difference to society’s less fortunate,” said team advisor Dr Almon Chai.

“The team is now focusing on the world semi-final. It will be a tough one but we hope to reach the world finals in the US,” said the robotics and mechatronics program coordinator.

Swinburne Sarawak multimedia design students Chia Fei Ran, Stella Wang Tze Feng and Sim Jia Ying won the Games category with “Tou: The Sacrifice”, a horror exploration game.

“It comes with immersive 3D experience and requires players to navigate the game environment in search of clues and solve puzzles in order to proceed to the next level,” explains lecturer John Hii who advised the team with design associate dean Augustus Raymond Segar.

The students hope to publish the game, inspired by the culture and folklore of Sarawak’s Melanau community, on Windows desktop or tablet, Windows Phone, Xbox and the coming Hololens incorporated with Windows Band.

If the students make it through the semi-final they will qualify for the world finals in Seattle in the US where they stand a chance to win US$50,000 (about RM180,000) plus other prizes.

Imagine Cup is a global student technology program and competition that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrates solutions that can change the way we live, work and play.

Competitors are not required to present completed projects but must be able to demonstrate their idea. A video describing their project must be submitted and once shortlisted the team must present the project to the panel of judges in person and respond to questions.

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