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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June 2005, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Blog tool wins innovation prize
Winning team members : Joseph Wardell, Adrian Collier, Andrew Webber
The winning team are looking forward to the final in Japan
A team of students who created a location-aware blog tool have won the UK finals of an innovation competition.

The Imagine Cup, organised by Microsoft, is intended to encourage student creativity.

The winning software, called OneReach, draws on the current interest in blogging.

The tool gives travellers access to blogs specific to the area they are in so they can find useful information and tips.

It also creates a map which allows family and friends to follow their exact progress while they are away from home.

The tool relies on GPS (Global Positioning System) and requires a smartphone.

Evolving community

The UK is one of 90 countries taking part in the global competition which has seen entries from 15,000 students.

The winners in each country get an all expenses paid trip to the finals in Japan at the end of July, when they will be battling for a pot of $215,000.

It will hopefully be an evolving community and the more people that use it the richer the information will be
Adrian Collier

In this year's competition, teams of between two and four students were asked to come up with a software design that "dissolved boundaries".

The winning team was made up of Adrian Collier from Bournemouth University, Andrew Webber from City University in London and Joseph Wardell from Aberystwyth University.

"We thought about it and decided that the time you face some of the biggest barriers is when you travel. You are in a different culture, there are language barriers and you are away from friends and family," said Mr Collier.

"It will hopefully be an evolving community and the more people that use it, the richer the information will be," he said.

The use of mobile devices and location-based software has proved a winning combination in previous years.

Last year's winners from the Universities of Sheffield, Aberdeen and Hull came up with a design called theJuice, a location-aware mobile application designed to help students adapt to university life by bringing together social and academic resources.

Slick tools

For Iain Rosarius from BT, one of the judges of the competition, the key was to see how OneReach was different from other blogging tools on the market.

"I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the team and by the fact that is was very topical, using RSS and location-based software," he said.

Burger and chips
One team came up with fast food solution
"It also had some very slick tools. For example if you arrange to meet up with someone, your phone will send you maps of how to get there," he said.

As well as showcasing British student talent, the competition can also have an impact in the commercial world, said Microsoft's managing director Alistair Baker.

"After the competition has drawn to a close, I'm convinced that many of the ideas will be turned into real-world commercial applications," he said.

Other entries for this year's competition included an application called Saviour, designed to help emergency services at the site of an accident or disaster.

Personnel can be tracked and directed to areas where most help is needed. Patients can treated and tracked more effectively, using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) wristbands.

Another team took the fact that take-away food plays a major role in student life as their inspiration.

Takeaways2Go enables students to order their favourite food from a range of mobile devices.

Adrian Collier and his team mates are now looking forward to representing the UK in Japan.

Mr Collier said he will definitely be writing a blog of the event.


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