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Kiwi Students Dominate the Microsoft Imagine Cup for the Second Year Running

For the second year running, Team OneBuzz has impressed the judges at the Worldwide Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition, as one of the top six finalists with their project which aims to wipe out malaria. More than 400 students from 70 countries took part in this year’s Imagine Cup.

Vinny Lohan, Steven Kang, Edward Peek and Kayo Lakadia from the University of Auckland were finalists in the Software Design Category at the awards ceremony at the Lincoln Centre in New York City early today.

More than 350,000 students from universities in 183 countries around the globe registered for Microsoft Corp’s Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition. In its ninth year, the theme of the competition is to use technology to solve the world’s toughest challenges.

Team OneBuzz offered a unique way of combating malaria through the use of a technology system that sends updates to the concerned parties within days rather than months, meaning aid can be dispatched to designated regions quickly and efficiently. By concentrating aid efforts and reacting quickly there is a greater chance of eradicating completely malaria.

“We are all on such a high. The entire trip has been a blast and we’re delighted to make it this far, especially as it is for the second year in a row!” says Vinny Lohan, team leader for Team OneBuzz.

“When you put this much into a competition you want to go as far as you can, and our goal was always to come and win in New York. The most exciting thing has been the recognition our project will gain that will allow us to make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

“It is phenomenal watching this team of young Kiwi innovators take on the world with such success – we are so proud of them,” says Scott Wylie, Director of the Developer and Platform Group for Microsoft New Zealand, who was on the ground to watch them challenge for the cup.

“They are fantastic global representatives and have once again proven themselves to be role models for the future of IT. The competition in New York was tougher than in previous years, and it is great to see New Zealand developing cutting-edge technology solutions that will make a difference.”

Back in New Zealand the team hope to continue developing their project. As Team OneBeep last year, they placed third overall in Poland with their solution to send educational content to laptops in remote regions in impoverished schools and communities around the world. Because of their success in developing this project further, Vinny was involved in an interview with Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corp. on CNN this week.

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