IT students off to the USA after claiming national Imagine Cup prize

Image: (L – R) Penelope Lewin (Sales Director, Investor and startup mentor, Microsoft), Kuan Qian, Matilda Stevenson, Toby Bowers (Director, Developer Experience & Evangelism at Microsoft)

A group of University of Melbourne IT students will be flown to Microsoft headquarters in Seattle this year after taking out the Australian final of the Microsoft Imagine Cup.

The Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s prestigious annual technology contest for student teams from around the world, who must design and create innovative applications to compete for the $100,000 top prize.

School of Computing and Information Systems students Matilda Stevenson, Kuan Qian and Kailun Zhang won first place in the Australian final of the contest with their augmented reality consumer app SourceLink.

Matilda says that SourceLink is an app that consumers can use while shopping.
“They use the app to scan a unique identifier on a product, and they will have immediate information about the product, presented in an interactive way,” she says.

“The information may include who the producer is, and how the product is made. We hope to integrate additional features such as a rating system, so that consumers can give direct feedback to producers.”

The team was inspired to create SourceLink by what Matilda says is an increasing disconnect that exists between people and the purchases they make.

“We wanted to help people reengage with the producers of their goods and, in doing so, help small-scale producers to tell the story behind their products,” she says.

Matilda says the team was surprised to have won the Australian competition, particularly given the high calibre of the contest.

“We are now excited to have the opportunity to work with Microsoft and staff from the School of Computing to improve our technology and make the idea a reality.”

The SourceLink team will make their trip to the Imagine Cup World Final in Seattle during July, where they will have the chance to pitch to Microsoft’s judges and compete for the global prize.

Feature image: A screenshot from the SourceLink app.