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Microsoft Imagine Cup: SmartARM wins session with CEO Satya Nadella



smartarm founders
Khan (left) and Hamayal Choudhry (right) after SmartARM won the
Canadian Finals of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup


  • SmartARM, founded by two 20-year-old college students,
    just won Microsoft’s 2018 Imagine Cup.
  • The prize includes $130,000 in cash and Microsoft Azure
    cloud credit — plus a one-on-one advice session with
    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
  • SmartARM cofounder Hamayal Choudhry is an
    intern at Tesla, in addition to his

  • The Imagine Cup had over 3,000

SEATTLE  – SmartARM, a prosthetics startup founded by
Canadian college students Hamayal Choudhry and Samin
Khan — both 20 years old —beat 3,000 other teams to take the
first-place prize in Microsoft’s annual Imagine Cup.

announced the winner of the Imagine Cup, its annual startup pitch
contest for student tech entrepreneurs, at a finals ceremony in
Seattle on Wednesday.

SmartARM will walk away with $130,000 in cash and credits
to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform — plus, the opportunity for
a private meeting with
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
himself, who will give the
founders some personal advice. 

With SmartARM, Choudhry and Khan are promising a cheaper,
3D-printed prosthetic hand, augmented with some Azure-powered
artificial intelligence: A camera in the palm of the prosthetic
hand will use computer vision to identify an object and subtly
adjust the fingers to the most appropriate grip. It makes
prosthetics more elegant and intuitive, the founders said on

Choudhry is a second-year mechatronics engineering student at the
University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and recently
scored an internship at Tesla. His partner in SmartARM, Samin
Khan, is a third-year computer science student at the University
of Toronto.

In second place at the 2018 Imagine Cup was iCry2Talk, a team
from Greece with an app that promises to translate a baby’s cry,
so you can tell if a newborn is actually in pain or just
exhausted. In third place was Mediated Ear, from Japan, with an
app for the hearing impaired that enhances the volume of human
voices in noisy areas. 

The competitors were judged on several criteria, including
feasibility of the concept and viability as a business. All three
teams went away with Microsoft Azure credits and free Microsoft
Surface Laptops. 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella himself was on hand at the ceremony,
as well as special guest Chloe Kim, the Olympic champion
snowboarder. Nadella praised all three teams as using artificial
intelligence to solve “un-met, unarticulated needs” and helping
people in real life.

Nadella also joked that all of the Imagine Cup teams had
accomplished more than he did at their age, and that he may
actually be in a poor place to give advice to the finalist teams.

“I definitely wouldn’t have made this final,” quipped Nadella.
“This is a problem.”

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