UH Hilo Team Sets Sights on Russia for Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals

A student team from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo departs Hawaii for St. Petersburg, Russia on Saturday, July 6 to represent the United States in the Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals sponsored by Microsoft. The Imagine Cup is recognized as the premier student technology competition that honors innovations that address the world’s toughest problems.

Team Poliahu - Featured from left to right: Ryder Donahue, Kayton Summers, Wallace Hamada, Professor Edwards and Mike Purvis.

Team Poliahu – Featured from left to right: Ryder Donahue, Kayton Summers, Wallace Hamada, Professor Edwards and Mike Purvis.

Team Poli`ahu, comprised of Mike Purvis, Kayton Summers, Wallace Hamada and Ryder Donahue from the UH Hilo Computer Science Department, won the U.S. Championship held in San Jose, California in May with their application entitled, “Help Me Help.” The program aids the community and emergency response personnel in disaster situations by allowing users to upload images of nearby hazards through the use of smart phones.

For Purvis and his teammates, the past several weeks have been a whirlwind experience. But he believes the team has gotten over the emotional jitters it felt in the aftermath of its victory, and is now focused on the task at hand.

“Right now we’re concentrated on refining our vision, business model and technology description into a polished, eight-minute presentation,” Purvis said. “From here on out, we will be practicing our final speech over and over until we can recite it in our sleep.”

This year’s competition features 86 teams of students from 69 countries competing in six categories for more than $1 million in cash and prizes. The UH Hilo squad will compete against 31 other teams in the Innovation Competition category that includes entries from China, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United Kingdom. Purvis said his teammates are looking forward to the challenge along with the opportunity to spread some aloha.

“We’re excited to be representing the U.S., but Hawaiʻi in particular,” Purvis said. “Our speech, decorations and slideshow are all being tailored to showcase the Big Island.”

Over the past 10 years, more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in the Imagine Cup competition.

A video link is available at: http://bit.ly/14y5NwY.

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