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News Release

Aug 5, 2010

Russian students demonstrate embedded development excellence at the Microsoft’s Imagine Cup

On the 8th of July this year Microsoft Corp. announced the winners of Imagine Cup 2010. The team MCPU from the Moscow City Pedagogical University (MCPU) came second in the ‘Embedded Development” category with Robonanny - a moving and talking human-like robot that helps socialize and educate children.

According to the project authors, Robonanny unites “modern achievements in information technology, robot technologies and the best teaching strategies for training and educating children”. Robonanny is a semiautonomous robot aimed to heighten kids’ interest in studying and healthy lifestyle.

Robonannny is built on the Windows Embedded CE platform. It consists of a multimedia unit, Wi-Fi module, manipulator arms with servo-motors, and a network camera. All these devices help a grown-up to keep an eye on his children being away. Controlled by an e-box via radio, Robonanny can perform a number of useful educational functions such as performing some degree of physical activity with children and facilitating different learning activities. Charge of integrated batteries is enough for the nanny to work for 3-4 hours. A prototype of a robotic nanny weighs about 15-20 kilograms, but its authors claim lighter materials can be used for standard models.

In 2010 this highly competitive global tech competition for students received about 325 thousand applications, and in the finals Russian teams had to compete with teams from over 100 countries.

In addition to the competition categories above, the Imagine Cup includes six achievement awards. One of these awards - Windows Internet Explorer 8 Award - went to another Russian team (BigTurtle from Saint Petersburg State University) for a Visual Search project. The Windows Internet Explorer 8 competition is designed to recognize software applications that create an enhanced user experience by leveraging Web Slices, Accelerators and Search Providers in Internet Explorer.

The third team that represented Russia this year in the finals was Team NLO from South Ural State University with Software Development project PolarVision – a hardware/software complex that identifies water pollution level by analyzing the water reflection in the digital images taken with a special polarizing lens filter. Though not awarded at the international world finals, the project is definitely a success at the national level. The software is already used at several Russian natural resources institutions to monitor the water quality on their territory.

Traditionally Russia has been successful in the filed of student’s technology and programming competitions. Russian teams regularly demonstrated excellent results at Microsoft’s Imagine cup competition since its early years, winning awards in the Software Development categories and various skill challenges, and is an unbeatable champion when it

comes to the number of medals at the ACM programming contest.

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