Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Imagine Cup 2007 Australia - The Rundown

On today's ReMix 2007, the three Australian Imagine Cup finalists delivered their presentations.
Here is the brief rundown.

1. Group: The Intelligent Gorillas
Univ : Queensland University of Technology
Project: Enhance Peer-Based Learning
* PowerPoint add-on to allow lecturers to identify
themselves before the lecture started. Once
completed, it upload the recording to the server.
* Desktop Application. Allow lecturers and students
to access the content of the presentation and
involve in the verbal discussion.
* Mobile Application that extends out the features
of the Desktop Application.
* Main Server (incl Web Services) that handles the
incoming requests and responses respectively.
I love the idea of being able to record the
lectures (incl the slides) and store it on a server,
so that others with appropriate privilege will have
access to it. However, this team lacks on several

First, it should offer the ability to download the
whole lecture at once (instead of slide by slide).
However, doing it this way means that you will have
to join up the wav files of each slides as well.

Second, the architecture might cause performance
issue when it comes in to place in a real-life
environment. Imagine the scenario where 100+ lecturers
and 10000+ students are accessing or uploading data
to this system at the same time.
In this case, you will need to put Messaging-Queue
in place. Also, make use of Async Call when calling
the WebService.

Third, how does the data (audio, slides) are stored
in the DB? The team didn't explain this point during
the presentation. In my opinion, it is best if you
store it as Base-64 format as opposed to Binary.
Takes less space.

2. Group: Team APA
Univ : University of Canberra
Project: Helping Visually Impaired People to Learn C#
Deliverables: Audio .NET, Audio Website, Audio Browser
Just by reading the project title, I can feel the spirit
coming out of this team. I should admit that the idea is
great. However, there is one major feature that is missing
from all of these. The ability to adjust the speed of the
speech. FYI, the visually impaired people tend to be able
to listen at humongous speed (hundreds of words per second).

Audio .NET
It is a great tool with some of the functionality to build
GUI. I also like the error-reporting feature. Although this
might actually raise another issue. In C#, variables are
case-sensitive. If you typed the wrong case, the compiler
will report that it couldn't find that variable and this
gets picked up by the speech engine. However, it doesn't
mention anything about the wrong case. Other thing, have
you guys thought of creating VS add-in (with Audio support) instead?

3. Group: Smart Education
Univ : University of Canberra
Project: WebCT mashed up with FaceBook
Deliverables: ???
I missed this session. Therefore, I am unable to give any
details regarding this.

And finally, at 4pm this afternoon, the result was announced by Nick Ellery.
The winner is... [insert drum music here]... Team APA with their Audio Suite.

No comments: