Patrick Godwin's Blog-O-Rama!

Developers, developers, developers!

Possible Kinect Fun Labs Dev Kit in the works?

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft announced yesterday that the Imagine Cup will now have a “Kinect Fun Labs Challenge” for this years competition. Students are tasked to “solve some of the worlds toughest problems” through the help of technology, in this case Kinect. I personally think this is incredibly exciting, because it gives students a chance to build innovative solutions with the Kinect Sensor.

First thing I did was browse the rules of the contest, wanting to get as much information as possible. I learned that all participants who move on to Round 2 of the competition will receive a free Kinect for Windows Sensor… and something a bit interesting. The following is taken from the official rules for the contest:


I’m not reading much into this, but it’s interesting to see that students will be getting a new SDK for Kinect Fun Labs. Perhaps we’ll see something come out for all developers in the near future? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, if you are a student passionate about changing the world through technology, sign up for the Imagine Cup today. Not only can you win a Kinect for Windows Sensor, but if your idea is great enough, you could win a free trip to Australia, as well as up to $8,000 USD. Sign up today!

Spotlight Imagine Cup: Team GreenWorld


The Imagine Cup Game Design competition is one of the most unique parts of the competition. Competitors have to think outside of the box to create fun, engaging games that also help solve world issues.

Team GreenWorld has built a solution that aims to help improve environmental conditions through education and motivation. They were partially inspired by the Sofia spring cleaning. They saw how people from all over the community would work together to clean their area.

Their game allows players to clean up and tend to a virtual world. The players go on quests with other players in the virtual world, and through these activities they can earn achievements and badges. The game seems to be styled in a similar fashion to the Farmville and Cityville social games.

I feel this game has a great amount of potential. While they may not have advanced beyond the first round of the competition, they still plan on bringing their game to market. You can read more about the project at there blog, here.

Until Next Time,
Patrick Godwin

Team Hawk Interview: Part 2

Part 2 of my interview with Team Hawk is up now! Check it out above.

Spotlight Imagine Cup: Team Walk2Help


Team Walk2Help is a Bulgarian team entering the World Wide Imagine Cup with a neat Windows Phone 7 application. They aim to help reduce carbon emissions while helping out charities.

I was able to sit in on Walk2Help’s presentation, and got quite a bit of insight as to what the project is about. They built a Windows Phone 7 application that tracks the amount of CO2 you save when walking. When you walk, you earn “credits”, that you can then redeem on their website to help charities. The more people walk, the more carbon we save, and the more people we’re able to help.

While they may not have made it much further in the competition, they did an amazing job building their project. The app is available now on the Windows Phone marketplace. Just search fro Walk2Help and make a difference.

If you support Walk2Help, please vote for them in the People’s Choice Awards here.

Until next time,
Patrick Godwin

Spotlight Imagine Cup: Team Hawk

(Photo from Tom Ziegmann’s Flickr stream)

This Imagine Cup is special in more ways than one. After all, it is the first time the worldwide event has been held in the United States. It’s also the first time Iraq has had a presence at the World Wide finals.

Team Hawk, a team from Iraq, has traveled far and faced many challenges to come here to the United States. They built a Windows Phone 7 application for easily registering and  tracking refugees in camps.

The team aims to “help refugees change their life for the better”. By registering refugees, they are able to get them welfare. Until a refugee is registered at a camp, they are essentially non-existent. Team Hawk wants to speed up this process, and help them get welfare as quickly as possible.

I sat down and interviewed Team Hawk. You can watch part one here:


While they may not have made it further, they still have overcome amazing obstacles and have great ideas. You can support them by voting for them in the People’s Choice Award voting here.

Until next time,
Patrick Godwin

Spotlight Imagine Cup: Team LifeLens


One of my favorite things about the Imagine Cup is the amazing goals many projects carry. The spirit of the competition is in the innovative thinking of each of the competitors. They come together with the common goal of “Solving the world’s toughest problems”.

Team LifeLens exemplifies this theme greatly. They have decided to tackle Malaria, hoping to make detecting the disease a relatively simple and affordable task. They developed a Windows Phone 7 application that takes pictures of different blood samples and sends them up to a cloud service for processing.

The cloud service then uses computer vision image processing to count the blood cells in the sample. It then goes through and searches for infected cells. The algorithm they developed is currently 98% accurate, as opposed to 62% accurate when they started.

Since arriving in New York for the finals, the team has been excited. They feel that they are “one of the stars of the show”, which they really are. They, along with the over a hundred competitors are all winners on their home turf. Whatever happens now, they’ve all succeeded greatly.

Team LifeLens was featured on CNN the day of the 2011 Opening Ceremonies. They, along with some other Imagine Cup competitors, presented their projects to the world. You can take a look at it here:

Students with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

You can read the full article here.

LifeLens is already in talks with organizations to promote and test the solution they’ve developed. They believe that, after the Imagine Cup, they can change the world.

If you support their cause, please vote for them in the People’s Choice Awards here. I’ll be bringing constant updates about them, and other competitors, as a part of my coverage of the World Wide Imagine Cup Finals with the Student Partner Social Media Team. You can follow our coverage using the #mspsmt hashtag.

Until next time,
Patrick Godwin

Imagine a World–The 2011 Imagine Cup Card Game

If any of you follow Andrew Parsons, Academic Developer Evangelist for the New York region, on twitter, you may have seen this picture:


I wondered what could possibly be in all of those boxes, especially with the Imagine Cup in New York City approaching quickly. Well, today I got my answer.

Introducing “Imagine a World”, a card game created by student Stuart Burton:


Andrew came up to me and handed me this deck of cards. It turns out each competitor will be receiving a deck of cards to play with throughout the competition. The rules of the game are as follows.:

First Turn:

  • No effects can be played.
  • Player 1 shuffles and draws 5 cards.
  • Player 2 shuffles and draws 6 cards.

Every turn:

  1. Draw a card.
  2. Buy Tech, Effects, and Team cards.
  3. Attack your opponent.

1. Draw a Card
You must draw a card if you have cards remaining in your deck

2. By Tech, Effects & Team cards
You may buy one Tech, one Effect, and one Team card per turn. Play cards you buy on your field.

3. Attack your opponent
Select one of your Tech cards and attack an opponent’s Tech card. If your Impact is greater than their Wow Factor, their card should be removed from play. Otherwise there is no effect.

Extra Rules

  • World Event cards must be played immediately.
  • You must use Money cards to buy Tech, Effect and Team cards. Other cards in your hand may be used in place of $1 Money cards.
  • You may use multiple Effect cards on a single Tech card.
  • You must wait a turn to use your Tech to attack your opponent unless it is the only Tech card on your field.

Optional Rule

For longer gameplay, players must choose to play cards OR attack per turn, not both.

Winning the game:

A player wins when their opponent can no longer make a play (draw a card, play a card from their hand, make an attack, etc.)

I think it’s really cool that the East Region Academic Team brought this card game to the Imagine Cup. If you enjoy the game, give a shout-out to the team members on twitter:

And remember to read the Microsoft Student Insider and the Microsoft Student Partner coverage of the Imagine Cup finals by using the #MSPSMT and #MicrosoftSI hashtag on Twitter.

Until next time,
Patrick Godwin

Spotlight Imagine Cup: Team Rapture


In this installment of Spotlight Imagine Cup, we’ll be taking a look of Team Rapture of Bangladesh. Team Rapture is composed of Avishek Ahmed, Mustakim Ali, and Sahidul Islam of American International University in Bangladesh. They are mentored by Ahmed Niaz Morshed.

Team Rapture is building a smart phone application, Third Eye, with the intent of helping the visually impaired with tasks. It hopes to give people with poor vision the ability to read, play games, and problem solve using a smart phone. It allows people to play games, read the news, and connect with others in a way they couldn’t due to a lack of accessibility.

You can connect with Team Rapture via their Facebook page. And you can help support them in the People’s Choice Awards by voting for them here. Be sure to follow this blog, and my Twitter account, to see my coverage of the Worldwide Finals in New York City. For the entire Social Media Team Coverage, you can follow the MSPSMT hashtag here.

Until next time,
Patrick Godwin

Spotlight Imagine Cup–Team A41 (Software Design)


The first team I met with as a part of my Imagine Cup 2011 Coverage was Team A41, a Software Design team from Puerto Rico. Team A41 consists of Francisco Fernández, Amarilys Méndez, Roberto Durand, and Juan Martí of Universidad Metropolitana in Puerto Rico. They are mentored by Pedro Maldonado.

The team has developed a project called All 4 One Solutions, which is a suite of software that would allow scientists and organizations to crowd source research for environmental issues. It’s a mobile and web based solution designed for collecting as much data as possible.

The team identified an issue in the local ecosystem, and developed their project with that in mind. They feel that the database of information created by the crowd sourced efforts can be used to help scientists who face wildlife that destroy ecosystems around the world. An example they gave me was Coral Reef Bleaching. The data gathered can be sent to scientists around the world, allowing them to work without being around.

You can follow and root Team A41 on Twitter and Facebook. You can also support them in the People’s Choice Voting here. Be sure to follow me on Twitter as I get ready to go to New York for the World Wide Imagine Cup Finals next week. And follow the MSPSMT Hashtag here.

Until next time,
Patrick Godwin

Introducing the 2011 Imagine Cup MSP Social Media Team!

For those of you who follow the Imagine Cup on Facebook, you may have noticed that a new tab appeared today. The Inside Track, a new feature on the Imagine Cup Facebook Page, exists to highlight the new Microsoft Student Partner Social Media Team that will be covering this year’s Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in New York City.

You may be asking, what is the Microsoft Student Partner Social Media Team? The SMT is a group of enthusiastic Microsoft Student Partners who will be attending the Worldwide Finals in New York City with the purpose of sharing the story of different teams at the competition.

I will be one of the members of the team in attendance. I plan on bringing you detailed blog posts about each team and the over all experience of the competition like I have with past Imagine Cup events. Feel free to check out the rest of the team here.’

Until Next Time,
Patrick Godwin

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