Imagine Cup 2017: Canada

Congratulations Canada Winners

On Saturday May 27th Microsoft Canada hosted the Imagine Cup Canada National Finals & Student Summit where our top 5 teams thrilled the audience with incredible project proposals powered by Microsoft cloud technologies.  An incredible day of collaboration between 140+ students, faculty and industry highlighted by talks from, Mario Grech, Founder of DCSIL and host sponsor at University of Toronto, Sam Pasupalak, Maluuba co-founder and now Microsoft team member, Mary Ellen Anderson VP Developer Experience at Microsoft and another 10 speakers on topics from AI, The Future of Data to Innovation in the Classroom.  An interactive student lounge engaged attendees all day including representation from Microsoft’s HoloLens, Microsoft Store and LinkedIn teams, external startup ecosystem partners from the DMZ at Ryerson and Communitech and a number of student projects displaying their award-winning Microsoft projects from Hackathons.

Judged on their technical merit by an esteemed panel led by Microsoft Canada’s Tommy Lewis and Khalil Alfar, alongside Tarek Sadek (Ryerson University, Director of Entrepreneurship), Greg Barratt (Communitech, VP Strategic Growth) and Kate Gregory (Regional Director, Microsoft Most Valued Professional Program) Microsoft crowned our top 2 Canadian teams: National Finals Champion: Team NeuroGate and their Software that uses Microsoft Kinect motion data and machine learning to analyze gait patterns and diagnose various neurodegenerative diseases and Runner Up: Team Karate Manatees and their online multiplayer team based sports game.  These teams will be representing Microsoft Canada on the global stage competing against more than 50 finalist teams from around the globe for the chance to earn the $100,000 grand prize.  Mary Ellen Anderson, was joined on stage by Dr. Ravin Balakrishnan (Chair, Department of Computer Science University of Toronto) to celebrate and award our finalists with the medals.  Congratulations to all participants in the competition!

Please click Imagine Cup Canada for photos of the event.

Follow our Finalist’s Journey here:

Canada finals highlights
From Student to Startup

Our Winners!

1st Place: Team NeuroGate

Team Neurogate

Declan Goncalves, Hrishikesh Suresh & Zeqi Cui
University of Waterloo

Runners up: Team Karate Manatees

Team Karate Mantees

Daniel Son & Martin Leung
University of Toronto

Our Five Canadian Finalists

Students from all over the world are invited to register their team and submit their project idea on the Imagine Cup website: Using the same judging criteria provided below, these five finalists teams were selected to compete at the National finals. Three of the teams, BlindSpot, NeuroGate and Sentire all attend University of Waterloo, Safe Watch attends Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf and Karate Manatees attend University of Toronto.


Team BlindspotBlindspot Logo

Helping the visually impaired take selfies and making the experience more accessible by embedding the photographer into the camera, and eventually, to incorporate feedback from social media so that the application can learn over time how to take the best pictures.

Karate ManateesKarate Manatees Logo

Online multiplayer team based sports game.

NeurogateNeurogate Logo

Software that uses Microsoft Kinect motion data and machine learning to analyze gait patterns and diagnose various neurodegenerative diseases.


A program that transforms a video into images and then sends them to be analyzed by a server running tensor flow on an Azure NC6 server. The image is compared with a custom classifier threat and trained with pictures of people wielding firearms and if a classifier has enough certainty about a keyword it returns a notification.

Team SentireSentirelogo

An events platform that aims to provide opportunities for users to have great moments by providing personalized event recommendations, thus enabling event organizers to reach their target audience, potentially increase ticket sales and gain actionable insights from and on event attendees, through the platform.

Our Mentors

Our five finalist teams were all mentored over a 2-month period leading up to the National Finals by Microsoft Technical Evangelists.

Adarsha Datta

Adarsha Datta 

Mentored team Karate Manatees

Sage Franch

Sage Franch

Mentored Sentire

Jef King

Jef King

Mentored Safe Watch

Lori Lalonde

Lori Lalonde 

Mentored team NeuroGate

Nastassia Rashid

Nastassia Rashid

Mentored team BlindSpot

Our Judges

Our esteemed Judges had the difficult task of selecting the top two teams that will compete at World Finals in Redmond, Seattle in July 2017, using the same judging criteria used in the first round of judging and will be used at the World Finals.

Greg Baratt

Greg Barratt

VP, Strategic Growth


Kate Gregory

Kate Gregory

Regional Director,

Gregory Consulting Ltd.

Tarek Sadek

Tarek Sadek, PHD

Director of Entrepreneurship Education Programs, Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship FEAS,

Ryerson University

Khalil Alfar

Khalil Alfar

Director, Cloud & Enterprise,


Tommy Lewis

Tommy Lewis

Technical Evangelism Manager,


Our Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Mario GrechMario Grech

Director and Co-Founder of the Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL) at University of Toronto

Mario gave a fascinating keynote on The Future of Technology including trends that will shape business, society and reality.

Sam PasupalakSam Pasupalak

Co-Founder and CEO at Maluuba, a Microsoft Company

Sam was in the same spot as a student just a few short years ago and he gave an inspiring keynote on his struggles, and the journey of his Student to Startup Success Story.

Lightning Talk Speakers

Mary-Ellen Anderson,VP Developer Experience Team at Microsoft - Growth Zone

Adarsha Datta, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft – Future of Data

David Kwok, Programs & Community Coordinator at Sandbox by DMZ – Stop Prototyping. Start Validating

Helen Kontozopolous, Co-founder of University of Toronto DCSIL – Innovation in the Classroom

Lori Lalonde, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft – Artificial Intelligence

Tommy Lewis, Technical Evangelism Manager at Microsoft – Inclusive Design

Mickey MacDonald, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft – Mixed Reality Spectrum and Microsoft HoloLens

Jay Rautins, Account Manager, Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn, a Microsoft Company – Tell Your Professional Story

Anastasiya, Julie, & Chris of Team Walkly – Experience as the 2015 Imagine Cup Finalists

Our Exhibitors

With energetic music playing and snacks all around, our Exhibitor partners were set up in booths in the “Interactive Student Lounge”.

Communitech Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed. That’s our mission, our mantra, our reason for being. Everything we do ties back to collaboration and helping—values that run deep in our organization. Communitech will be showcasing some of our student programming and talking about what is happening in the Waterloo Region Tech Ecosystem.
DMZ Sandbox is the community arm to the DMZ - North America’s leading business incubator. We're an open and collaborative space that provides access to a curated list of creative, digital and entrepreneurial skills and opportunities to students and the wider community. Unlike other learning spaces, our programs are free, interdisciplinary, hands-on and skills-based.
Team Walkly Walkly was the 2015 Imagine Cup Canada Finalists that went to Redmond to compete for the top prize. Find out what their experience taught them, who they are connected to and what they busy with now!
HoloLens Microsoft HoloLens is the first self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to engage with your digital content and interact with holograms in the world around you.
Microsoft Eaton Centre Interested in any Surface products or need a device to work on at school? Come check out the Microsoft store booth, where you can demo different devices and hang around to play some Xbox!
Student Project - The Lady Hacks “Best Use of Azure” Project: Star
Ever need a service, but can’t find the right person? Team Star hosted a services exchange platform for every day users, where you can navigate the service you need with the best person for it.
Student Project - UofTHacks “Best Use of Azure” Project Name: InCase
An IOS application where users can easily access information about the law. They have gone through and condensed sections of the Highway Traffic Act and the Criminal Code. Users will get quick and fast results regarding basic legal questions.
Student Project - MSFTHacks Project: WaterlooTalks
A chat-bot that provides mental health support for students at the University of Waterloo. We will be demoing the features of this chat-bot by simulating a conversation it would have with a user.
Student Project - Team Memuro Holographic Photo Project is an application for HoloLens users that projects holographic photos from OneDrive into a physical environment, enabling people to relive their memories in a more immersive way.