UH Hilo team sets sights on Russia for Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals

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Date: Monday, July 1, 2013
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

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 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.

VIDEO BROLL (1 minute, 27 seconds):
• UH Hilo team presenting the “Help Me Help” app to a meeting of Hawaiʻi County first responders (civil defense, fire, police, etc.)
• UH Hilo team working on campus in their lab/classroom
• “Help Me Help App” demo


Darryl Oliveira – Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Director (19 seconds)
“Getting live or real time photographs as well as the geographic information -- the lat, long, addresses -- and then tagging it with a particular hazard identifier, would give us this tremendous information of what’s occurring in the community during and post of disaster. And then be able to quantify that so that we can address the resource needs in those areas.”

Darren J. Rosario – Hawaiʻi County Fire Department Chief (21 seconds)
“Being able to see the incident as it’s evolving while we are still responding will give the incident commander valuable information to set up his action plan on how to mitigate that incident. Such things as the size of the fire or maybe the type of auto accident that is involved, how many patients that we may be having to respond to.”

Animation explaining “Help Me Help” app by Microsoft (35 seconds)

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