Computing and Information Systems students Kim Ramchen and Mahsa Salehi are part of a team that yesterday won the Australian final of the 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup.
The Imagine Cup is the leading international technology competition for student software developers.
Kim and Mahsa formed Team StethoCloud, with fellow team members, Melbourne Medical School students Hon Weng Chong and Andrew Lin.
The group devised an innovative project that aims to advance the detection of childhood pneumonia in developing nations; a project that could potentially save countless lives if implemented in the developing world.
StethoCloud is an intelligent cloud-powered, mobile-hybrid stethoscope that is able to diagnose early stage pneumonia. By connecting a stethomic to a Windows Phone 7 smart phone, a community health worker or unskilled administrator is able to transmit diagnostic information into a cloud service. This cloud service then analyses a patient’s breathing sounds for patterns that represent the earliest stages of pneumonia.
The team was mentored by Associate Professor Chris Leckie from the Department of Computing and Information Systems, Associate Professor Jim Black from the Nossal Institute for Global Health and Professor Nigel Curtis from the Department of Paediatrics.
Kim said that childhood pneumonia claims the lives of more children than measles, malaria and HIV combined, but that it was treatable if detected early.
“Tragically, though, by the time a health worker may diagnose an afflicted child in a remote community it is often too late,” he said.
“The widespread availability of a simple and inexpensive diagnostic tool for the detection of childhood pneumonia could enable an operator with minimal prior training to make an early diagnosis and seek treatment before the disease has progressed to the incurable stage.”
Kim said the team was euphoric when their project was named the winner of the Imagine Cup.
“It was immensely satisfying for us to see that our ideas and work had been recognised by the panel of distinguished judges presiding over such a prestigious and prominent contest.”
Microsoft will now pay for the team to visit New York later this month to promote the Imagine Cup in the lead up to the world final in Sydney on July 6 – 10.
This is not the first victory in this prestigious competition for a University of Melbourne student. Computing and Information Systems student Ed Hooper was part of a team that took out both the Australian and international titles in 2008 with a revolutionary software system for irrigation.
Kim said the team was looking forward to the world final.
“We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to promote and showcase our technology to a global audience. We are especially honoured to do so on home soil!”
The Melbourne School of Engineering congratulates Kim and Mahsa, along with Andrew and Hon on this significant achievement and wishes them all the best in the international final.
Microsoft Australia prepared this video profile of Team StethoCloud: