Microsoft software prize goes to UC Davis/UCSD team

A team including UC Davis graduate student Wilson To and UC San Diego students Helena Xu, Kayvon Ghaffari and Audrey Lee has won the grand prize in the U.S. finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup software design competition. Team Mobilife will travel to Warsaw, Poland in July to take part in the international round of the competition.

“It was definitely a big surprise and honor to have won the national finals,” said To, who is studying for a MS degree in the comparative pathology graduate group at UC Davis.

The team developed a cell phone based system to check for early signs of damaged blood vessels, caused for example by diabetes, high blood pressure or sickle cell anemia.

A doctor uses a Windows Mobile phone to take a still images and video of blood vessels in the conjunctiva, the clear membrane over the surface of the eye. Image analysis is done on the phone, while video analysis is done on a server. The data is compared to reference images and then a text message is sent back to the phone with the results.

Here’s a video with more about how it works.

“The project originally started in UC Davis, and as the project development continued, I recruited some old friends (Helena and Kayvon) to assist in the project,” To said.

Xu and To had previously competed in the UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge, while Ghaffari had experience in mobile applications projects. Team mentor Jason Wakizaka, who is not affiliated with UC Davis, will be starting an MBA program in the fall at UCLA, To said.

Original press release about the competition results (inaccurately describes all team members as being from UC Davis).

More information about the Imagine Cup and the official Imagine Cup blog.

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