April 23, 2012

ASU team to represent US in worldwide student technology competition

Posted: April 23, 2012
FlashFood Imagine Cup Winners
Team FlashFood includes (left to right) marketing and sustainability major Jake Irvin, biomedical engineering major Eric Lehnhardt, materials science engineering major Katelyn Keberle, and computer science major Steven Hernandez. The team’s faculty adviser (not pictured) is Richard Filley, director of the ASU's Engineering Projects in Community Service program.
Photo by: Jessica Slater/ASU
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Four ASU students have won a place in the premiere international student technology competition by taking first place, April 23, in the U.S. Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Seattle.

Their team, named FlashFood, earned a trip to the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in Sydney, Australia in July.

The students also earned $18,000 to support their venture to apply new technologies in developing and coordinating a real-time food-recovery and distribution system. It uses Web applications and smart phones to help local communities prevent food waste and deliver fresh food to people in need.

The first-place finish also brings a $10,000 donation to ASU.  

Team members are senior biomedical engineering major Eric Lehnhardt, senior materials science and engineering major Katelyn Keberle, senior computer science major Steven Hernandez and senior marketing and sustainability major Jake Ervin.

In Australia, they will compete against student teams from about 70 other countries.

Hundreds of student teams from around the county vied for spots in the Imagine Cup U.S. Finals. Ten teams, including FlashFood, were selected to compete in the Software Design category of the U.S. Finals. Twelve other  teams were finalists in the Game Design category.

It’s the second year in a row that an ASU student team won the Software Design category in the U.S. Finals. Team Note-Taker developed a portable custom-designed camera connected to a pen-and-multitouch Tablet PC that aids students with visual impairments in takes notes in classes.

Team Note-Taker then won second place in the category in the Worldwide Finals in New York City.

FlashFood’s effort has evolved from projects developed in the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) program in ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business.  EPICS director Richard Filley is FlashFood’s faculty adviser.

The team is forming a network of restaurants and banquet halls to donate leftover and surplus food to local community centers and churches for distribution to families and individuals.

The mobile-phone application will help manage the food pickup and distribution system. The app would be used for communications between the providers, collectors, distributors and recipients of the food.

The Imagine Cup competition challenges student to use technology in efforts to develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The Imagine began in 2003 with about 1,000 students working with various teams. By last year, more than 358,000 students from 183 countries and regions around the world participated on teams trying to move through the stages of the competition.

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Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering