April 30th, 2006
I had been to Bangalore to attend the MSAPP expo. And incidentely, the same day was also for Imagine Cup National Finals. So, on the whole there were 20 teams for MSAPP and about 12 teams for Imagine Cup. Judges arrived at 12PM and went through all the projects. The best projects received a hefty sum as cash prize. At the end of the day, the best projects selected would be showcased before the whole student and the judge audience.
MSAPP – Microsoft Academic Project Program
The best one in MSAPP was a project called iTrust. You can read more about it from Praveen‘s blog. His team walked away with Rs.75000/-. The runner up was an innovative project named “Computer for Blind”. Based on the Braille system, they developed a simple keyboard, which can be used by the visually challenged to type out text, as we do on a normal keyboard. They developed the whole circuit and plugged it to the CPU thro’ the serial port. Once the typing is done, a simple voice command saves the file and another voice command retrieves the file. They also made a simpler version of braille printer. Lots of people advised them to patent their idea. Hope they do it soon.
Three teams were selected for Imagine Cup National Finals, to present their idea over the whole audience. This time, the judges selected 2 best projects. The ideas of the 3 selected teams were brilliant. But only the other 2 could make it to the International Finals. Btw, the international finals are happening at Agra by August. The two selected projects were about a whole new computing experience for the visually challenged and for cerebral palsy affected people. Two inventions that really touched me deep were the “mouse” they had developed for cerebral palsy people. They had developed the mouse in such a way that the affected people need not grip the mouse. The second one was the navigator for the visually impaired. Moving from left to right on the screen, there will be a change in sound that will tell the person his position on the desktop. Similar things happen when he moves from top to bottom. It also announces the name of an icon when the mouse is over it. One task that the team did before the audience was that they closed laptop and cleared the recycle bin blind-folded.
Teachings of the Masters
Coming back to the title of the post, what had i learnt from all these teams??
1. The people with the idea should not piss off in the middle of the project. They must be as involved as others.
2. The full team should be working on every aspect of the project with the burning desire of winning.
3. The team should have decent marketing skills to market their idea.
4. And last but never the least, the team picker must ensure that all the above happens with minimum effort.
As i was returning to the room where i was staying, all these things hit me. I knew the mistakes i made. I picked up a wrong team member as part of MSAPP. My buddy Moyeen was the one who helped me all along to get it going to MSAPP as part of the top 20 projects. Thanks a lot dude! I owe you a lot.
Over the past 2 1/2 years, i had some amazing experiences and will continue to have them. Will surely share them over time. Bye!