Indian students win award at Imagine Cup 2018, create an app that checks authenticity of medicines, traces them back to source

By: | Published: August 13, 2018 12:46 AM

Team DrugSafe from India has won a special award under Big Data category

app, studentsThis app uses Optical Character Recognition to identify minute details in design and packaging of medicines

Team DrugSafe from India has won a special award under Big Data category and got a prize money of $15,000 at the 2018 Microsoft Imagine Cup held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, US, recently. With their DrugSafe app, Srihari HS, Pratik Mohapatra and Chidroop I, from RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru, aim to address the issue of counterfeit drugs by helping people verify authenticity of medicines.

These boys encountered the issue of fake medicines when one of their friends showed no signs of recovery even after weeks of taking a prescribed medication. Later, learning that a lot of medicines sold in India are fake, they decided to create an app that could authenticate medicines and trace them back to their source.

This app uses Optical Character Recognition to identify minute details in design and packaging of medicines, and compares them to the original manufacturer’s patented and trademarked attributes. After three levels of checks, discrepancies are flagged to help users identify medicines as counterfeit. The team designed a simple UI for the app, so it could be used by anyone regardless of age or technical skills, and have the widest possible impact.

“We plan to utilise the prize money to seek new partnerships and integrate more Azure services into the app to make it more powerful,” they said.

Team smartARM from Canada was overall victorious at the Imagine Cup—for their robotic prosthetic hand that calculates appropriate grip for objects utilising Microsoft Azure machine learning and computer vision. Besides $85,000 cash prize and an Azure grant worth $50,000, they will have a mentoring session with the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

At second place was Team iCry2Talk from Greece, whose project enables parents to decipher the message behind a baby’s crying, in real-time. Team Mediated Ear from Japan clinched the third place—their project is a software for hearing-impaired individuals, to focus on a specific speaker among a multitude of conversations through the help of deep learning.

This year, 49 teams from 33 countries were selected to travel to Microsoft headquarters, to showcase their ingenuity in leveraging modern technology to solve the world’s pressing challenges. Held annually since 2003, the Imagine Cup is known by participants as the “Olympics of student technology competitions”. To date, nearly 1.8 million students from over 190 countries have engaged with the Imagine Cup.

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