Pakistani start-up qualifies for semi-finals in Microsoft contest

SEATTLE: A Pakistan-based start-up, Fe Amaan, has managed to qualify for semi-finals in the Microsoft Imagine Cup start-up contest.

The Imagine Cup Awards is a special category that the Microsoft team has introduced this year in lieu of quarter-finals for the categories of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality.

The main contest started on Tuesday and the start-up also participated in that contest.

Fe Amaan offers health solutions to pregnant women and has been selected among six teams in the category of Artificial Intelligence.

The winning team in this category will receive $15,000 cash prize and $30,000 Azure grant. Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft that helps test, deploy and manage applications and services globally.

Judges selected a total of 17 teams for the Imagine Cup Awards, with six in Artificial Intelligence, six in Big Data and five in Mixed Reality.

“We did our best. We are really looking forward to the results,” said Iqra Irfan, who with partner Areeba Kamil was representing the Fe Amaan start-up. Their third partner was not present on the occasion.

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The team of three from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has made a monitoring device for expecting women. They have built a belt with the help of Internet of Things sensor device.

The device with the help of Azure cloud platform can be run remotely and can tell health condition of a mother based on gathered data.

“Pakistan has one of the highest child birth fatalities,” said Areeba. Particularly, women in rural Pakistan suffer the most as they lose their baby most often along with their own life just because they lack timely health care.

Responding to a question on how the women will use the device as they lack proper education, she said they were aware of that and planned to make doctors, health-care workers and other stakeholders part of the team.

In case of any abnormal heart movements, this system generates timely alerts so that precautionary measures could be taken immediately.

On the second day, there will be competition among all 49 teams from 33 countries in the Imagine Cup finals. About 1.8 million students from over 190 countries have participated in the contest since its inception in 2003.

The winning team will receive $85,000 cash prize and $50,000 Azure grant.

The team on second place will get $15,000 cash prize and $40,000 Azure grant while the team that secures the third place will get $30,000 Azure grant.

The first-place team will also win a one-on-one mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2018.

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