Microsoft announced Team Hollo from Hong Kong as the World Champion for the 2020 Imagine Cup who won the grand prize for their mental health companion web app leveraging Azure analytics and AI services to advance youth therapy practices. This is the first time in the 18-year history of the competition that a team from Hong Kong has won the top prize. Runner-up teams include Team Syrinx from Japan and Team Tremor Vision from the United States. Team Syrinx created a neck wearable EL (Electrolarynx) that restores the ability to speak for people who have lost their voices and Team Tremor Vision developed a web-based tool that enables physicians to detect early-onset Parkinson’s and quantitatively track patient progress.
Held at the Microsoft Build digital event, Team Hollo won USD100,000, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and USD50,000 in Azure grants. Hollo is a digital mental health companion and therapist, used to enhance practices by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and therapists through an AI chatbot. It leverages Big Data and AI to introduce youth to therapy and counseling practices through online gamified journaling and mindfulness activities. Data from the AI chatbots and journaling can then be collected to generate actionable findings. This scalable model aims to cut the heavy cost of mental health care for youth to make support more accessible and supplements existing self-help techniques and therapy practices.
“Mental health is a really significant problem faced by society around the world, affecting so many especially in 2020. We’re so excited to win the Imagine Cup World Championship because it will allow us to continue working on this innovative mental health platform and technology. Our journey has definitely reaffirmed our belief that going forward, this is something viable and has the potential to save lives,” said Team Hollo.
The 18th annual Imagine Cup competition saw thousands of students across the world submitting innovations to impact their communities, both locally and globally. This year’s innovative and inclusive solutions submitted by teams tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges in healthcare, agriculture, media, and more.
“We’re always so impressed and humbled to see the projects these young developers have created, this year is no different! Their innovations aim to address issues in their communities and are focused on bringing the world together. With the competition moving into a virtual format for the very first time, it was inspiring to see how the teams came together to pitch their projects to the judges at Microsoft Build’s inaugural digital event,” said Jennifer Ritzinger, General Manager, Audience Evangelism, Microsoft.
Six finalist teams from Asia, EMEA and the Americas were selected to move forward to the World Championship, after advancing through hackathons, and online semifinals by presenting their innovations via Teams at virtual regional event in their respective regions.
The top three teams — Team Hollo, Team Syrinx and Team Tremor Vision – gave an in-depth presentation of their solutions, which were assessed for their diversity, originality, and innovative design.
This year’s online judging panel consisted of Microsoft executives and innovation experts with technology, diversity, and social change-centered experiences:
- Dwana Franklin-Davis, CEO of Reboot Representation, a tech innovator, and leader who has worked to empower underrepresented groups in technology
- The CyberCode Twins, America and Penelope Lopez, young innovators who have participated in tech competitions across the world and hope to introduce other students to opportunities in the field
- Brad Smith, President, Microsoft Corp, who leads work on a wide range of issues involving the intersection of technology and society, including ethics and AI, human rights, and environmental sustainability.
Watch the show to experience the moment when Team Hollo is crowned champion! Registration for the 2021 competition is also now open for students and young developers to sign up today! For more information on the competition and the participating teams, please visit the Microsoft blog.