Microsoft, looking for the next generation of technology stars, found a few in the company’s annual event that brought to Seattle groups of high-school and university engineers .
Microsoft, looking for the next generation of technology stars, found a few in the company’s Imagine Cup competition, which honored the winners Friday.
The annual event brought to Seattle groups of high-school and university engineers who had built everything from adventure games to virtual-reality software designed to simulate the perspective of someone suffering from dementia.
Winning teams in three categories each earned a $50,000 cash prize and a place in Microsoft programs designed to help developers and startups get off the ground.
The grand champion was a crew of university students from Brazil.
The eFitFashion team, hailing from São Paulo, built algorithms that customize clothing patterns based on a user’s measurements and connects the buyer with tailors and seamstresses in an online marketplace.
The motivation behind the product, said team member Bianca Letti, was to provide people with clothes that fit and save time for the people making them. They spent three years on the effort. With Microsoft’s support, “We can show the world that our project can have a global scale,” Letti said.
Steve Guggenheimer, the Microsoft corporate vice president who leads developer outreach, said the contest is a natural way to reach out to young technology talent. “It’s nice to have the next generation come and interact with us,” he said.
The contest, in its 13th year, drew about 330,000 entrants, Guggenheimer said.
Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella, back from a trip to Kenya to celebrate the launch of the Windows 10 operating system, took the stage wearing a T-shirt bearing a popular new icon for employees and fans of the company: a cat holding a Microsoft flag riding a fire-breathing unicorn.
“What you started is going to grow,” he said to a room full of competitors, judges and employees. “It isn’t going to grow because of some investors … It’s going to grow because of your passion, your dreams.”