University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s Team Poliʻahu, who won the 2013 Microsoft Imagine Cup U.S. Finals, completed their run at the Worldwide Finals in St. Petersburg, Russia. The competition is considered the worlds premiere student technology competition. Though they did not win, team members Mike Purvis, Wallace Hamada, Ryder Donahue and Kayton Summers say it was an amazing experience and they met fellow college students from all over the world.
They also received a tremendous amount of helpful feedback on the app they created, Help Me Help. Because they are the national champions, the team will be receiving financial support from Microsoft to launch the app that allows everyday residents to send pictures to first responders in times of emergency (floods, fires, natural disasters, car accidents, road blocks, etc.). The first responders also receive the exact geographical location and with the picture, can better assess and respond to the situation.
Hawaiʻi County civil defense, fire, police and other government agencies are currently working with the team to put Help Me Help to use in the near future.
Team Poliahu’s advisor is UH Hilo Associate Professor Harry Edwards.