This year, thousands of students from over 160 countries applied their passion and purpose to develop tech solutions to impact their communities in the 20th annual Imagine Cup. The competition began in September 2021, and from all the projects submitted in four social good categories, Earth, Education, Healthcare, and Lifestyle, our global judges selected 48 teams to compete in the World Finals in March. The top three winners in each category were chosen, and finally, the top regional winners advanced to pitch their projects at the World Championship during Microsoft Build this morning for the chance to become the next World Champion.
Tiernan Madorno, Microsoft Joy Officer, and Donovan Brown, Microsoft Partner Program Manager, hosted the show and introduced each of the World Championship judges–Linda Lian, CEO/Founder of Common Room; Kat Norton, Founder and Chief Excel Officer of Miss Excel; and Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming. The judges were tasked with selecting the World Champion based on an assessment of the solutions’ technology, accessibility and inclusion, marketability as a business idea, and potential for making an impact as the three regional teams provided in-depth presentations on their solutions.
Congratulations to V Bionic from Saudi Arabia and Germany who won the grand prize for ExoHeal, a modular exoskeletal hand rehabilitation device that utilizes neuroplasticity and Azure technology to provide adaptive and gamified rehabilitation exercises to people with hand paralysis. The team won USD50,000 in Azure credits, a cash prize of USD100,000, and a mentoring session with Microsoft Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella. Watch the show to experience the moment when V Bionic was crowned the champion!
Learn more about the Imagine Cup and how you too can code, collaborate, and compete!
More about the 2022 World Champion
Top row: Ramin Udash, Zain Samdani
Bottom row: Asfia Zubair, Faria Zubair
V Bionic aims to ease the hardships faced by people with disabilities by integrating robotic technology with the human body through bionic solutions. Specifically, ExoHeal combines robotics and neuroscience to offer affordable and 30% faster rehabilitation to patients with hand paralysis. This is achieved by incorporating the concepts of neuroplasticity into a rehabilitation routine that utilizes a robotic exoskeletal hand and a smartphone application to offer interactive and gamified therapy.
Although it began as a personal endeavor, the team gradually came together through referrals and attending various competitions and events.
- Zain A. Samdani, Founder and CEO, initially came up with the idea for ExoHeal, and after researching it and developing the initial prototypes, he realized that a team was necessary to work on different aspects of the project to create a solution that truly addresses the needs of patients with paralysis
- Faria Zubair, Head of Design, improved the design and transformed the prototype to make it feel like a second skin
- Asfia Jabeen Zubair, Operations Manager, provided her ability to deal with people and patients and secured the input and advice of a scientific society comprised of neuroscientists
- Ramin Udash, CTO and application developer, contributed his expertise in building robotics and applications
The team recently started to integrate the devices with mobile apps to improve user navigation. They were introduced to Azure at a hackathon in Saudi Arabia and have been fascinated with the technology since.
V Bionic is currently developing their final prototype for clinical testing scheduled for the third quarter of 2022. These extensive clinical trials will provide better insights and assist in gaining the necessary FDA and ISO certifications required for a class 2 medical device. The team is also developing the app in collaboration with physiotherapists and neuroscientists in India and Saudi Arabia to ensure that its functionality will meet user needs. After successfully bringing the hand paralysis rehabilitation device to the , the team has plans to expand to other parts of the body starting with the arms and eventually the legs.
“Our journey has taught us how a simple device can so greatly change the lives of others. The smiles and joy it has brought and that which it has yet to bring give purpose to our work. Knowing that we have what it takes to instill change in the world gives meaning to our existence. V Bionic is not just a team, it’s a family who cares to help families overcome the difficulties of life through technology.”
–Zain A. Samdani and Asfia Jabeen Zubair