“It’s awe inspiring to be able to compete against the world’s best and brightest – it’s taken nearly three years of development to get us this far and we’re looking forward for what’s to come.” – Zach Preston, Former ACG Parnell College student
Former ACG Parnell College student Zach Preston reached the semi-finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Seattle, USA alongside his team, Sentinel, this month. Zach was among some of the best and brightest young tech innovators in the world vying for more than US$725,000 in cash and prizes and an opportunity for a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Zach’s winning ANZ Imagine Cup team, Sentinel, were among the six finalists in the Big Data category for their rainwater management system, which monitors tank water levels and automatically reorders water from local tank-refilling companies to ensure that rural homes, farms and holiday homes never run dry.
The Microsoft Imagine Cup sees tens of thousands of aspiring student developers from across the globe teaming up to create imaginative real-world applications. Now in its 16th year, the competition has run annually since 2003. This year’s top inventions included a smart baby-cry translator and software to help people with hearing difficulties focus on a specific speaker in a noisy room.
Zach, currently in his first year of studying Engineering at the University of Canterbury (UC), was excited with the result the team achieved.
“We unfortunately didn’t make it through to the top 3. But given the quality of the work from some of the other teams, I’m pretty happy with where we placed. To be in the top 15 out of 52 global finalists and 40,000 overall applicants is a pretty awesome achievement!
“It’s awe inspiring to be able to compete against the world’s best and brightest – it’s taken nearly three years of development to get us this far and we’re looking forward for what’s to come.”
The team has already had interest in Sentinel, which Zach developed while at ACG Parnell College, from Water Care, Bachcare and Fonterra.