All-Russian final of the Technologies Imagine Cup 2011, organized by Microsoft and supported by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), was held on 16 April 2011 at the Cultural Center of the National Research University Higher School of Economics. The Foundation “Skolkovo” and the Higher School of Economics were partners of the event. Besides IITE the competition was supported by the Russian Venture Company, Acer, Quarta Technologies and Intel. At the opening ceremony Professor Alexander Khoroshilov, IITE National Programme Specialist, delivered a welcome speech.
Imagine Cup is becoming increasingly popular among Russian students. This year more than 8000 people applied to participate in various competition categories. 12 teams from 11 Russian universities have reached the final. More than 300 students and teachers attended the competition venue to support the finalists. During the competition, each of them could ask questions and make comments on-line through Twitter.
Among the projects that participated in the Competition there were: a system that enables blind and visually impaired people to navigate through environment, an e-learning program training and helping both children and adults to fold origami, a 3D e-learning system, enabling young physicians to perform an operation on a virtual patient, as well as a snap analysis system of diseases by smell.
In the category "Software Projects" the first place was awarded to the team OriTeam from the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI). Calvus team from the Saratov State Technical University became gold medalists in the category "Embedded Systems". These teams will participate in the final stage of the world's biggest forum Imagine Cup 2011 in New York.
OriCrafter project of MAI students – the first prize winner in the category "Software Projects" – represents an intelligent system which helps to fold origami. It can be used both in children's education, motor, attentiveness and other essential skills development, as well as by professional users – fans of the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. The system is also available in form of mobile applications and supports augmented reality mode.
Tactile Viewers team of the Moscow Physical-Technical Institute took second place in the category "Software Projects" for their project “Kinect for the Blind” – a system based on the Controller Kinect and homemade tactile matrix enabling blind and visually impaired people to navigate through the environment.
Third place was shared by two teams: «Progress» from the Saratov State Technical University (SSTU) and “Magic Team” from the Nizhny Novgorod State University. «Progress» demonstrated a project model Clean City aimed at optimizing garbage collection in the city. Clean City project is based on a network of special sensors indicating the filling capacity of litter bins and efficient routing of garbage trucks. Nizhny Novgorod team presented the Crystal Ball system for analyzing political situation and predicting instability in various countries on the basis of news sources information processing.
Calvus team (SSTU) won in the category "Embedded Systems". Saratov innovators assembled, set up and demonstrated the system creating an optimal environment for the maintenance of Larval Axolotls. This is an important social project allowing industrial-scale cultivation of the larvae, which is actively used in medical researches of stem cells and human regeneration.
SunFlowers team from the Volgograd State Technical University came in a close second in the category "Embedded Systems" with the system of solar energy redistribution and trade. Third prize went to another SSTU team with a project of rapid snap analysis system of diseases by smell, which allows a fast breath test of the contents of a particular class of compounds to detect certain diseases.