The winner of Microsoft Australia’s Imagine Cup competition at this year’s REMiX conference in Melbourne was Team APA (Audio Programming Assistant) from the University of Canberra. Students Phillip Haines, Ngoc Thuy Duong Khuu, Van Tieu Vinh and Ping Li developed a customised version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2005 program that allows blind users to write programs in the C# programming language using advanced speech recognition and speech synthesis technology.
They also demonstrated a customised version of Internet Explorer that allows blind users to surf the web using the same technologies.
While there was some debate on whether the team’s target market (blind programmers) was too narrow to have any kind of real impact, Team APA eventually emerged as a clear winner due to the demonstrated possibility to really help people – the technology could be adapted to other applications.
The second placed team, “Smart Education” also hailed from UC, and developed a web service that provides lecture note transcription, translation and collaboration for uni students using a mobile phone photo taken of the lecture whiteboard.