We strongly believe that it is our mission to help those who are in need. At present time, the blind community to better perceive their surrounding environment to be able to be mobile and do more. Thus, BAWA Cane is created to fill this gap. Seeing many wonder how our journey continued after we found our million-dollar idea, we made this post. We continued our humble journey by validating our idea and innovation in competitions within Malaysia and abroad.

2016 Microsoft Imagine Cup Big Idea Challenge

Microsoft Imagine Cup is an annual series of technology competitions focused around Microsoft technology. Next generation students team up and use their creativity, passion, and knowledge of technology to create applications that shape how we live, work and play in a global stage.

We have a problem that we are passionate to solve. A solution that could potentially change the way visually impaired live and work. For this reason, we gave Microsoft Imagine Cup a shot.

First, we started our Microsoft Imagine Cup journey with the mini challenges such as Microsoft Imagine Cup Big Idea: Pitch Challenge, Microsoft Imagine Cup Big Idea: Plan Challenge, and Microsoft Imagine Cup Big Idea: Design Challenge.

Microsoft Imagine Cup Big Idea: Pitch Challenge

Our pitch challenge journey started on a fine day in October 2015 when Microsoft announced the Microsoft Imagine Cup Big Idea: Pitch Challenge. As it is a global challenge, we need a proper plan. To begin with, we read and listed down the things that are required to include into our pitch video; team name, idea, problems that we are solving, and etc. In the first place, we got the idea and problems part figured out but not the team name.

How BAWA got its name

As we pitch our idea to our family, friends, mentors, and lectures, there was one interesting name that came up; BAWA. The word “BAWA” is a Malay word that means bring. Furthermore, we envisioned that our idea will one day evolved into something that can be worn or brought around either by the visually impaired or by public. As for the story behind the word “bring”, it is necessary for the visually impaired to bring along their white cane wherever they go as an identity and as a mobility and navigation aid.

The submission

We engaged the help of one of our lectures to help us filmed the pitch video as the deadline was around the corner. It was my first time talking in front of a camera so it was a nerve-wracking experience. We had to retake our video multiple times to get through it smoothly. Daniel, then, processed and submitted the pitch after the video was shot.

The nerve-wracking moment

On 3 November 2015, Microsoft announced the winners of the Big Idea: Pitch challenge. As we anxiously scrolled down the page and optimistically hoping that we will emerge as the winner of the World Citizenship category, we found out that we were honorably mentioned; one of the top 10 teams in the world. As per the announcement, it was stated that the competition was extremely fierce this year, with many high‐quality pitch videos submitted in all three categories. In some cases, the scoring was almost too close to call. Although we failed to emerge as the winner, we were still delighted that we were honorably mentioned. We know that we still have much to learn from the winners as well as from our mistakes.

For the complete list of winners and honorable mentions for Big Idea: Pitch Challenge, click here.

Judge feedback on our pitch

Microsoft Imagine Cup recruit judges from all over the world. They work for many different companies, not just Microsoft. Some are faculty members but most are technology professionals. All volunteer their time to evaluate projects thoughtfully in the hopes of helping students improve their work and build a bright future.

Among the feedback that we’ve gotten are:

“A great idea that may really help people with visually impaired, and its team is highly skilled and made deep research about this solution.” — Microsoft Imagine Cup: Big Idea Pitch Challenge judge.

“Looks like you are inspired of what you are doing, and I encourage you not to lose this inspiration and develop this product!” — Microsoft Imagine Cup: Big Idea Pitch Challenge judge.

“The combination of technologies you want to use is pretty clever, as Windows IoT will be the Next Gen OS for a lot of connected devices.”  — Microsoft Imagine Cup: Big Idea Pitch Challenge judge.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Journey through 2016 Microsoft Imagine Cup: Big Idea Challenge (Part 2) – click here!

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