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UOWD student wins entry to Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals in New York in July

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

momEcare project, developed by Shawn Frank, was selected at Microsoft Imagine Cup regional finals in Dubai A mobile device-based software solution called momEcare, which allows pregnant women in remote areas and in developing countries to access health care, has been selected to represent the UAE at the global finals of Microsoft Imagine Cup, the world's premier student technology competition. The winning solution, developed by Shawn Frank, a student of University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), was selected at the Microsoft Imagine Cup regional finals which were held at American University of Dubai on April 26. Shawn Frank will represent the UAE in the finals in New York in July all along with a team from Kuwait and another team from Oman. This is the second time Shawn has qualified for the finals of Microsoft Imagine Cup. The project "momEcare" is a low-cost pregnancy and childbirth assistance system. This solution can be used to give quality medical assistance to the medical staff in developing and underdeveloped regions using an application on the mobile phone, the database on an online server and a website. "I had read somewhere about the acute problem of maternal mortality and that the United Nations had set a target of year 2015 to solve this problem, as only 17 per cent of worlds countries meet this goal currently, said Shawn, a final year IT student at UOWD. "Basically, my project involves providing a mobile phone to people in villages which will enable pregnant women to conduct medical check-ups via the phone. This data is then logged and sent to a UN server where they have a map that alerts the nearest medical facility for assistance. I have developed a website (monecare dot com) through which medical staff from anywhere can send an alert and get online expert advice from doctors around the world, added Shawn. Three teams from the UAE two from UOWD and one from University of Sharjah -- had qualified for the regional finals of Microsoft's premier technology competition, the Imagine Cup 2011. "It is a matter of great pride for the University of Wollongong in Dubai to be recognized for the high competence of its students through this project, said Dr. Mohamed Salem, dean, Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, UOWD. "The Microsoft Imagine Cup offered tough competition from the regions top universities. UOWDs second entry was Project TouchDesk which creates up to 20 virtual touch screen PCs on normal wooden tabletops. This can be used by students in a classroom environment utilizing the computing power of one normal personal computer. "It is great to be recognized in fields that have direct impact on our day to day life, said Dr. Mohamed Watfa, Associate Professor, Faculty of computer Science and Engineering, UOWD, and the team mentor. "Both our projects received high recognition from the audience and judges and we are delighted to have our university represent the UAE in New York competing with more than 120 countries and hopefully achieve great results there as well." Shawn said his interest in IT for healthcare was ignited three years ago when a Microsoft team briefed the university students on how software could be used to solve the worlds biggest problems. They gave the students free developing software which is otherwise very expensive. Shawn first got involved in a project about hearing aid software in association with American Hospital. This year, he decided to develop momEcare with great results. Now in its ninth year, Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2011 had invited students from across the UAE to rise to the challenge and "imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today." As the world's premier student technology competition, the Imagine Cup is Microsoft's initiative to encourage young people to apply their imagination and creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference and address real-world issues. Students aged 16 and over were invited to register for the 2011 event for which they use technology to create innovative solutions that can change the world. Imagine Cup compliments Microsoft's Unlimited Potential commitment to create social and economic opportunity through programs and products that transform education, foster local innovation and enable jobs and opportunities worldwide. Over 2,000 students from various universities around the Gulf region registered last year, with an all-female Kuwaiti team emerging as winners in the Gulf in 2010.