by David Corrigan
HILO, Hawaii – The school year may be over and the diplomas may have been awarded, but there are still a lot of dedicated students continuing their work.
A student team from the University of Hawai`i at Hilo recently won the prestigious 2013 U.S. Microsoft Imagine Cup Championship held in San Jose, California.
The national finals featured the top 10 U.S. teams pitching their innovative ideas – which are supposed to address the world’s toughest problems – to investors, entrepreneurs, and technology professionals for a chance to win cash prizes and support for their businesses.
UH Hilo’s Team Poliahu, comprised of seniors Mike Purvis, Kayton Summers, Wallace Hamada and junior Ryder Donahue from the UH Hilo Computer Science Department, topped the field of competition with their application entitled “Help Me Help,” which focused on community help for disaster relief efforts. The app allows users to upload images of nearby hazards through their smart phones, helping emergency responders.
Team Captain Purvis said the idea grew out of a senior project to design software that could track native and invasive plant species.
The team now heads to St. Petersburg, Russia for the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in July.