Microsoft Imagine Cup: Makerere students develop new malaria testing application

Uganda will be represented in the Microsoft Imagine Cup competitions worldwide finals by a team of three students from Makerere University who developed an application that can diagnose malaria without pricking any body part.

Team Code 8 is made up of Businge Joshua, Gitta Brian (both first year Computer Science students), Simon Lubambo, a fourth year Electrical Engineering student and their mentor Josiah Kavuma a third year Information Technology student.

Their application named Matibabu uses a light sensor connected to a tablet that is passed over a finger to diagnose malaria. The trio will represent Uganda in the 2013 Microsoft Imagine Cup finals to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia in July.

To have won this year's Uganda country finals “ and to have an opportunity to present our country at the Worldwide Imagine Cup along with some of the brightest young minds, is an honour, said the team. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to compete with students from around the globe who like us, are passionate about making a difference in the world.

Team Code 8 won an all expenses paid trip to the finals and two laptops while the second team “ Team KodeDream won two laptops courtesy of Microsoft.

Speaking during the competition that attracted over 150 students, Simon Onyango, the Microsoft Business Development Manager in Uganda, challenged the youth to take time to focus on developing technology applications that are wealth creating and not just cool. While many local developers have focused their work on developing consumer applications, it is important that they also look into opportunities that exist in B2C (Business to Consumer) Apps, Independent Software Vendors (ISV), Line of Business Apps and In House Line of Business Apps as these remain unexplored and present real business opportunities, he added.

Onyango also encouraged the youth to continue developing apps on the Windows 8 platform saying it is only a game changer but also an operating system that is apps driven. Windows 8, unlike past operating systems offers a huge global opportunity for developers. They can easily build, submit and sell through the windows store with favorable economic terms. There is no learning curve as local developers can use their existing skills, code, certifications, languages and framework preferences to write for windows.

Drake Patrick Mirembe, the manager of Microsoft Innovation Centre-Uganda (MIC) noted that the MIC was committed to mentoring the teams that had participated in the competition to enable them transform their concepts into innovations that uplift our communities.

This is the first time the finals are jointly held in Uganda by Microsoft, Makerere University and the MIC-Uganda.

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