The winners of this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup from IT Sligo, Áine Conaghan, Calum Cawley, Matthew Padden and James McNamara today arrived in Brussels for a one day visit to the European Institutions to showcase their winning solution.
 
The visit was facilitated by MEP Pat the Pope Gallagher. During their visit the students met with Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas and the Irish Ambassador.  The team were also brought on a tour of the European Parliament and visited Microsoft’s European Cloud and Interoperability Centre in Brussels.
 
Speaking from Brussels, MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher, said: “I am delighted to facilitate the visit of the winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup to the European Institutions. The four students from IT Sligo competed against 350,000 students from 183 countries to win one of the most prestigious student technology awards in the world. This was a great achievement for them personally and for IT Sligo.”

“They deserve full recognition for their innovative work. The purpose of the Microsoft Imagine Cup is to find solutions to real world problems. In this context, I am delighted that the EU Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas was able to meet with them to discuss their new black box technology for cars which is capable of recording details of road crashes and generally monitoring driving behaviour.”

The IT Sligo students entered the Imagine Cup as Team Hermes. They won the Irish round of the Microsoft Imagine Cup back in April and then competed in the global finals in New York in July. At the global finals they won the top prize and were named the winners in the Software Design competition of the Microsoft Imagine Cup.
 
Speaking about the IT Sligo students, Paul Rellis, Microsoft Ireland said: “Each year the Microsoft Imagine Cup shines a light on incredible innovative students around the world and this year we were delighted that the winning team for this year’s competition came from Ireland. It’s a great sign of the talent that is being developed in Irish Universities in the technology sector. There has been great interest in the student’s project and this trip to Brussels is one of a number of key meetings which the team has had since winning. We’re looking forward to seeing how the project develops.”
 
The team designed a device that plugs into a car and monitors dangerous driving behavior and road conditions, providing instant feedback to both the driver and the car owner. The team’s solution uses embedded technology, Windows Phone 7, Bing Maps and the Windows Azure cloud computing platform to change driving habits and reduce road deaths, which impact a significant number of young lives each year. With its victory, the team won $25,000 (U.S.).
 
“Our success at the Microsoft Imagine Cup wasn’t just a win for Ireland, it was a win for Europe and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to come to Brussels to meet with European representatives like the European Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas. The high incidence of death by road accidents isn’t just an Irish issue, it’s a problem all over Europe, and this is a fantastic opportunity for us to share our ideas on how road safety can be improved with top European policy makers ,” Calum Cawley, member of Team Hermes said.
 
The 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition is now open for entries and further information can be seen on www.imaginecup.com.