USIU-Africa students win coveted Microsoft championship for tech innovation
Four students from the United States International University-Africa (USIU) have emerged winners of Microsoft’s 2023 Imagine Cup World Championship.
Muna Numan Said, John Onsongo Mabeya, Syntiche Musawu, and Zakariya Hussein won the grand prize of USD 100, 000, a mentorship session with Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, and Level 2 access to Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub for their creation TAWI, an application which seeks to help people with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) communicate more easily.
The application is designed to leverage speech recognition tools from Azure Cognitive Services and OpenAI Whisper to enhance speech, reduce background noise, and transcribe speech to text in real-time.
Their reason behind choosing the name TAWI, a Kiswahili word that translates to leaf, was to signify that children are the next generation of innovators and world leaders and wanted to improve the lives of children affected by APD.
“This is a big milestone for the team, for Kenya and for Africa. We had imagined changing the lives of only a few children but now we have an opportunity to scale our project beyond borders,” Muna Said said.
The team qualified from 48 competing global teams to be selected among the top three to compete in the wORLD cHAMPIONSHIP AT microsoft Build.
They faced Eupnea team from the United States of America and CS-M Tool from Thailand.
They are the second team from USIU-Africa to participate and win the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship after team REWEBA won the 2021 Microsoft Imagine Cup Championship for their IoT-based infant monitoring solution, which remotely analyses infant parameters during post-natal screening and serves as an early warning intervention system.
The Imagine Cup is an annual technology competition for students from around the world to come together to push the boundaries of what’s possible and bring their groundbreaking solutions to a global stage.