Microsoft Research is investing in a project for the blind created by Polish students [Microsoft]

for: Microsoft Polska

Team Psyllosoft, made up of Petros Psyllos and Krzysztof Bujnarowski, representing the Bialystok University of Technology in the worldwide Imagine Cup finals in Redmond, US, attracted the attention of Microsoft Research, the division of the company involved in research and development. Team members received an offer of financial support in the amount of $10,000 and mentoring for the next stage of project development.


Project MATIA, with which the team entered the 2016 Imagine Cup competition in the category of World Citizenship (Social Projects) is an automated vision system that helps blind people by allowing them to "see" the world. The solution offered by Psyllosoft describes the environment using words, sounds and tactile stimuli in such a way as to help a person orient themselves in their surroundings.
Petros Psyllos, when describing the experience of being in the finals of the world's largest technology competition for students, said: "The size of the Microsoft headquarters made a huge impression on me. We got an inside look at the work culture of the company. Employees have projects to complete. The deadline for the completion of the project is set, but whether they will work on it several hours a day in-house or plan the work in some other way, depends only on them. "
And what did the finals themselves look like?
"The finals took place on Tuesday, July 26th. In each category – World Citizenship, Innovation and Games etc., there were several teams, each of which gave a 10-minute presentation to the jury. The jury consisted of representatives from the scientific field, namely MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), from the business world, and of course from Microsoft", says Petros. "It just so happened that our committee representative from MIT was blind. The representative tested how MATIA worked on herself. In the meantime, there were meetings and presentations with representatives from Microsoft. During one of them we were able to check out how the HoloLens, or augmented reality glasses, work. On Wednesday, Jay Beavers – Engineering Manager at Microsoft Research, showed us the laboratories in which devices dedicated to people with various disabilities are developed. He pledged financial support for our projects... and offered us jobs."

This is the first time in history that a Polish team participating in the Imagine Cup competition received such an offer. The competition has evolved over the years towards a platform to present viable solutions with a ready business plan and introduce them to the market. At the same time the teams have a chance to present in front of people who can help in the implementation of their plan, including serious investors. As you can see, you do not need to get the highest place on the podium to achieve success during the Imagine Cup competition.
"What is most valuable is the adventure, continuous learning, experiencing different situations. Being at the Imagine Cup provides a full range of emotions – from stress, fatigue, nervousness to joy. Here, everyone is a winner",  says Krzysztof Bujnarowski.