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X.GLU, student developers from Czech Republic and Slovakia took home first place in the 2017 Microsoft Imagine Cup. (Microsoft Photo)

And the winner of Microsoft’s 2017 Imagine Cup is … X.GLU, a team of student developers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who built a hardware and software solution designed to help diabetics better cope with their condition.

The competition, which is in its 15th year, brings together student developer teams from around the world to create original technology projects from start to finish. X.GLU bested 53 other teams that descended upon the Redmond, Wash. Microsoft campus this week from 38 other nations for the final few rounds.

X.GLU will take home a $100,000 cash prize, a $125,000 Azure grant and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. This year, Microsoft doubled the first place cash prize, raising the stakes for the aspiring developers.

Here are the other finalists and their prizes:

  • Oculogx, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S., displayed a mixed reality app that uses HoloLens and Azure to improve locating items in warehouses. The team finished in second place will receive $25,000 and a $25,000 Azure grant
  • The third-place finisher is Nash, from Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires, Argentina, which created a platform to reduce response times in natural disasters using drones. The team will take home $15,000 and a $25,000 Azure grant.
  • NeuroGate, from University of Waterloo in Canada, built software that uses Microsoft Kinect motion data and machine learning to analyze gait patterns and diagnose neurodegenerative diseases. This team received an undisclosed consolation prize.
X.GLU shows its diabetes management system during the 2017 Microsoft Imagine Cup. (Microsoft Photo)

The X.GLU team is made up of students from Czech Technical University in Prague. They are: Marek Novak, who is pursuing a master’s degree in radio-electronics and optoelectronics at; Tomas Pikous, a graduate student studying software engineering; and Barbora Suchanova, who is pursuing her master’s degree in software engineering and focuses on the design and development of mobile applications for Windows Phone and Android platform.

The team’s project involves disrupting the traditional glucose meter that diabetics use to check their blood sugar. X.GLU built a glucose meter prototype that is controlled via a smartphone app and connected to the cloud.

The team is starting with child diabetics, and plans to introduce rewards points and other prizes like toys for tracking blood sugar and hitting certain benchmarks. The app lets certain people, like parents and doctors, set up access to testing results, so they can work through problems together and celebrate milestones.

Medical projects were a big part of Imagine Cup this year, with 40 percent of the 54 teams in Redmond focused on the medical field.

As the competition moved into its semi-final round, the teams got to hear from Nadella. He said technology is powering change in every walk of life, and the developers in that room are on the forefront of that evolution.

“You are very blessed,” Nadella told the crowd of developers. “You are in tech, you have the capability around computer science, in a time like this, when everything is being shaped by digital technology, so there’s only one thing you have to get right at this point because you have won the lottery already. Now the question is how do you spend the money? Spend it wisely.”

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