“You can see how many different projects can join together for the same cause.” – Team I Copy You, Qatar

Some of the most exciting projects at the Imagine Cup World Finals competition are the ones that aim to break down barriers and make learning more accessible for all. For Qatar’s I Copy You team, participants in the World Citizenship category, the focus was on children diagnosed with autism – a large and growing community that is often underserved in traditional classrooms.

The team of two recent Qatar University computer science graduates presented a low-cost educational software that uses the Kinect camera to detect a child’s motion. The software then provides feedback to a RoboSapien (a low-cost humanoid robot) that mimics the child’s movement. Because children on the autism spectrum have difficulties with typical human interaction, this friendly robotic learning tool can make an important difference in the learning process.

I Copy You teammates Nour Musa and Wa’ed Hakouz, along with their mentor, took a few minutes to talk to me about their project, and I was impressed with not only their innovation, but the passion behind it. “We’ve tested it in schools, we’ve tested it with teachers, and with children,” Wa’ed told me. And because kids with autism have very different sets of strengths and challenges, they’ve customized the app based on the unique needs of students they were working with. “We worked with a child named Mohammed,” Wa’ed explained. “We talked to his parents, his teachers, his nurse, and we took into account his skills to create customized games.”

The idea came from their college supervisor, who brought a robot into class. According to Nour, “One of the children we worked with wanted to dress up the robot as a princess,” and that immediate connection between child and robot inspired I Copy You.

This was the team’s first Imagine Cup experience (here’s more from their win at the 2014 Pan-Arab competition), and they were clearly thrilled with the opportunity to interact with other teams at the competition, young people who share their love for technology, and their belief that it can make a difference in the world.  As Nour says, “You can see how many different projects can join together for the same cause.” And it’s that potential – a combination of global collaboration and inspired projects like I Copy You – that perfectly illustrates the power of the Imagine Cup. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with I Copy You.

-Anthony

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