National glory in Microsoft Imagine Cup for Team StethoCloud

May 12 / 86


From Left to right: Hon Weng Chong, Andrew Lin, Kim Ramchen, Mahsa Salehi and Pip Marlow, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia
From Left to right: Hon Weng Chong, Andrew Lin, Kim Ramchen, Mahsa Salehi and Pip Marlow, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia

A team of University students has won the Australian final of the 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup with a device that could revolutionise the diagnosis of childhood pneumonia in developing countries.

The Imagine Cup is the leading international technology competition for student software
developers.

Computing and Information Systems students Kim Ramchen and Mahsa Salehi and
Melbourne Medical School students Hon Weng Chong and Andrew Lin developed the
StethoCloud, an innovative project that links a stethoscope to a smart phone.

StethoCloud is a cloud-powered, mobile-hybrid stethoscope used to diagnose early stage
pneumonia. By connecting a stethoscope to a Windows 7 smart phone, a community health
worker or unskilled administrator can transmit diagnostic information into a cloud service. This
cloud service then analyses a patient's breathing sounds for patterns that represent the
earliest stages of pneumonia.

The team was mentored by Associate Professor Chris Leckie from the Department of
Computing and Information Systems, Associate Professor Jim Black from the Nossal Institute
for Global Health and Professor Nigel Curtis from the Department of Paediatrics.

Team member Kim Ramchen said childhood pneumonia claimed the lives of more children
than measles, malaria and HIV combined, but was treatable if detected early.

"Tragically, though, by the time a health worker may diagnose an afflicted child in a remote
community it is often too late," he said.

"The widespread availability of a simple and inexpensive diagnostic tool for the detection of
childhood pneumonia could enable an operator with minimal prior training to make an early
diagnosis and seek treatment before the disease has progressed to the incurable stage."

Mr Ramchen said the team was euphoric when its project was named the winner of the
Imagine Cup.

"It was immensely satisfying for us to see that our ideas and work had been recognised by the
panel of distinguished judges presiding over such a prestigious and prominent contest," he
said.

Microsoft will now pay for the team to visit New York later this month to promote the Imagine
Cup in the lead up to the world final in Sydney.

Mr Ramchen said the team was looking forward to the world final.

"We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to promote and showcase our technology to a
global audience. We are especially honoured to do so on home soil!"

Microsoft Australia prepared this video profile of Team StethoCloud:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HZDVokbk4pE

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