Andrew Smith (front, right) and Dr Louis Coetzee (back, second from right) (research group leader: CSIR’s Internet of Things engineering group) with The Elite team.
Every year, Microsoft’s annual Imagine Cup competition draws the cream of South Africa’s information and communications technology (ICT) students for a gruelling three-day event. For the second time in a row, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the CSIR (through its Multinational Company Cooperation office) partnered with Microsoft in the planning and execution of the event.
With a mission to make the world a better place using the power of software and services, the Imagine Cup allows young leaders in technology to share their innovations in an environment that provides exposure, resources and connections. The Imagine Cup SA 2011 local finals were held at Birchwood Estate conference centre from 12 to 14 December 2011.
Teams compete in a software design and a gaming section; each team is required to do a presentation (involving all team members) to a panel of judges drawn from the media, industry, science councils and government. Criteria are applied strictly to assess the success by which students are able to turn ideas into applications that can make a difference to the world.
Participants in the software design category were vying for a chance to participate in the Worldwide Imagine Cup competition planned for Sydney, Australia in 2012. Among them was The Elite, a group of enthusiastic computer science students who were chosen by the University of Pretoria (UP) to enter their final-year project, CorrectoSpecto: Monitoring the use of controlled substances, for the competition.
The CSIR’s Andrew Smith, a researcher in the CSIR’s Internet of Things engineering group, was the ‘client’ for UP students Musa Nkosi (team motivator and programmer), Nkosinathi Mphalala (research and development), Masego Mpshe (system analyst and designer), Percy Rapudi (project manager and programmer), Lloyed Phakula, and Katlego Setsiba (project manager and programmer), whose ingenuity was tested in coming up with a system for monitoring the access of prescribed medication for patients. Smith explains, “My year-long involvement with this team was a most satisfying experience. Apart from putting forward the project, my role was to help them crystallise the outcome through regular interaction and discussion. It was an interactive relationship to explore new and novel concepts: I learnt as much from them as I hope they did from me!
“I am very pleased that they advanced to the Imagine Cup SA 2011 local finals, which gave them an excellent opportunity to showcase their innovation to industry. I was a proud and a passive observer during their presentation that went very well.”
Smith was also a judge in the Game Design & Development category at the Imagine Cup SA 2011 local finals. During 2011, he mentored a second UP team, IntelliSoft, whose project, TangibleControl, won the departmental prize for best human computer interaction. IntelliSoft did not participate in Imagine Cup.
The winner of the Imagine Cup SA 2011 local finals was Asclepius, with sole member Duncan Leibstein of the University of Johannesburg. His project was titled, ‘Detecting tuberculosis in chest radiographs using image processing techniques’.