After finally getting to the airport after a long plane ride (about 4 hours and 35 minutes straight), I was taken, along with the finalists who made it to the final rounds, to a nice, fancy hotel. Once we were all set, buses started taking people to registration in building 92, followed with a gathering in "The Mixer". There, I was able to get a look at the projects that had made it all the way to the finals.
The projects are broken down into 2 main categories, software design and game design. There were some interesting ideas there, but the 2 ideas from software design that I like are Note-Taker and Lifelens. The goal of Notetaker is to "help low-vision and legally blind students take notes in their secondary and post-secondary classrooms as quickly (and with the same ease) as their fully-sighted peers." The goal of Lifelens is to "introduce an innovative point-of-care smartphone application to address child mortality rates caused by the lack of detection and availability of treatment for malaria."
As part of dinner, Alex Kipman, a member of the Xbox development team, was brought in as a guest speaker to speak to all of the finalists. The main message of the speech was "Not Being Afraid to Fail". In his speech, he described software development as "an art form" that is still new and also told finalists to not listen to those who say your idea is not possible, because if you listen to those people, your crazy idea will not come into fruition. Sure, you might have some failure along the way, but if you can't accept failure you will never be a good developer in life. I think this applicable in all kinds of areas other than just software development. After all, we wouldn't have some of the inventions that we think of as standards today if it weren't for crazy developers and inventors.
I will be posting periodically throughout the whole weekend about this competition, so stay tuned for more.
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