Every year, Microsoft holds a student developer competition dubbed Imagine Cup. The competition is designed to bring students from across the globe together and “push the boundaries of what’s possible and bring their groundbreaking solutions to a global stage.”
This year marks the 21st edition of the competition, and Microsoft has already identified the winner. During the company’s annual developer conference, Build 2023, Team TAWI from Kenya was pronounced the winner.
The team came up with a software app called TAWI that’s designed to assist children with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) to enhance both their communication and auditory skills effectively.
Members of team TAWI indicated that they drew inspiration to create and develop the app from one of their team mate’s personal experiences. Microsoft told OnMSFT.com that:
Team TAWI drew inspiration from personal experiences, with one of the team members witnessing firsthand her younger brother’s difficulties and recognizing the need for a more practical and cost-effective alternative to traditional hearing aids.
The software is built on Visual Studio IntelliCode, GitHub CoPilot, as well as speech recognition tools from Azure Cognitive Services and OpenAI Whisper. As such, it’s possible for children with ADP to leverage the tool’s speech-to-text conversion, speech enhancement, and gamified auditory training exercises to improve their auditory skills.
Team TAWI further highlighted that:
With just earphones and a smartphone and the use of AI for the speech to text and audio enhancement, the application will suppress ambient noise in loud environments so that the user can hear the speaker clearly and focus on what they are saying. In addition the user will be able to read along with speech to text, all of this occurring in real-time.
The team- John Onsongo Mabeya, Muna Said, Syntiche Musawu Cishimbi, and Zakariya Hussein Hassan will receive prize money bundled up with an insightful mentorship session with Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. They’ll also be enrolled in the company’s Startups Founders Hub program to ensure that they are steered in the right direction and that their platform takes off.