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Delivering the Prognosis

Delivering the Prognosis

Having created a project which addresses a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system with affects some 1.2 million people in Europe alone, Greece’s student team swept a total of two coveted awards at the 2015 Microsoft Imagine Cup finals in Seattle, Washington. 

Aptly entitled Prognosis, the project proposes an intelligent ICT-based approach for the detection of early Parkinson’s Disease symptoms and early intervention in older adults’ everyday lives, promoting active and healthy aging by introducing new ways of health self-managing tools set within a collaborative care context with health professionals. 

More specifically, the main aim of Prognosis is to create an unobtrusive ICT-based behavioral analysis approach for capturing the appearance of PD symptoms as early as possible, as well as to apply ICT-based interventions countering identified risks based on early PD detection, relating to progressive frailty, falls and emotional shifts towards depression. 

Following their enthusiastic project presentation before judges and in depth analysis of the technical specifics it adopts in the hands on judging round, the team – comprised of students Despina Efthymiadou, Vicky Bikia, Dimitris Iakovakis and Konstantinos Mavrodis – won third place in their category of World Citizenship, received thousand dollars and also swept the inaugural Ability Award.

“Imagine Cup has a long history of projects that go to the heart of how to impact and change lives, especially those with disabilities. With more than 1 billion people in the world with disabilities, it’s important to think about how technology can impact and make a difference in people’s lives,” said Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Director for Microsoft's Accessibility Customer Experience, who announced the launch of the Ability Award.

Prognosis, according to Lay-Flurrie, was recognized on the basis of its demonstration of innovation and the potential it holds to drive a more accessible and inclusive workplace and world. The team was judged on the potential impact its project may have on the lives of people with disabilities as well as design principles, usability and potential in the market place. Other criteria include how the project has been tested with people with disabilities and, finally, overall quality of the execution.

Following this honour, Prognosis will be given the opportunity to travel once again to Microsoft in Seattle for an “Ability Bootcamp” through which team members may spend time with experts in disability, accessibility and inclusive design from across Microsoft, refining their project and obtaining invaluable insight. 

The only team to have received multiple distinctions at this, the 13th installment of the world’s premier student technology programme and competition, the Prognosis students are extremely proud of their achievements, they confided during an exclusive interview with Gold News in Seattle, following the announcement of the honours. 

“After all those hours of hard work and countless sleepless nights working on this project and putting so much effort into something that we love and believe in, winning an award is a very special honor and a recompense,” Vicky Bikia said.

“When it comes to two awards, then it is a real thrill! We are grateful that all our efforts have been recognized by such distinguished judges in this global competition.”

These two awards, she continued, will spur the team to continue developing the Prognosis solution and encourage the students to find even more innovative ways to push the project further. 

“Perhaps the most important feeling this experience has inspired in us is the realization that there is a place in the global medical community for our contribution.”

The Microsoft Imagine Cup offers a platform through which student startup projects may access invaluable resources to aid their introduction to the real market. In this light, how is Prognosis’ participation in the Microsoft event set to influence the further development of the project?

“Our participation in the competition was significantly educational and creative, and gave many experiences that we will cherish for a lifetime. We had the opportunity to meet and converse with experts in the field who gave us constructive feedback and advice that we can integrate in our solution,” Bikia shared with Gold News.

“Moreover, through the Ability Award, we have the opportunity to go to Seattle again and participate in a 3 day boot-camp with the Accessibility Board on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond.”

Turning to the next stages of development of the project, she revealed that the solution will be continued as planned. “We are already on the way to expand to other platforms including Android and IOS, and also plan to expand our collection of data and optimize our models.


Read more of Gold News' exclusive coverage of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015:

Countdown to the Imagine Cup 2015 Begins

Dream it, Build it, Live it: Celebrating Innovation

And the Winner is … !

IN PICTURES: The Microsoft Imagine Cup 2015

Microsoft Breaks Guinness World Record at Imagine Cup


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