North East Bytes - Microsoft Technology Usergroup in the North East of England

The 2012 Imagine Cup UK Final Results Are In

As many of you who have attended NEBytes events recently will know we have been doing our very best to support all the teams who have taken part in the 2012 Imagine Cup North East.  Well today was the final of the UK Competition and the results are in.  We are delighted to announce that the two teams which went through from the Imagine Cup North East Finals finished first and second in the UK Final!!!!!!!!!

This is a fantastic result not only for the teams but for the North East community as a whole!  This is the first year we have seen participation in the Imagine Cup competition from the North East and we hope to see this continue for many, many years to come.  The standard of entries from the North East teams alone was very high so we can imagine that the UK judges had a real difficulty in choosing the eventual winner!

The winners of the Imagine Cup UK Final were Team Eyeworks, who presented their idea at NEBytes last month and the very close runners up were Teeside 0x32.  Both entries were fantastic and we really hope that both teams continue to develop their fantastic ideas!  We hope to welcome both of the teams back to NEBytes very soon to get their reaction on the result and to find out their next steps!

Well done to all of the teams who took part in every single stage of the competition and good luck to Team Eye Works when they travel to Sydney to represent the UK in the 2012 Imagine Cup World Final!!!!

Imagine Cup North East: Team Eye Works

At our March event we had the pleasure of welcoming Team Eye Works to NEBytes to present their entry in the 2012 Imagine Cup.  We asked the team to provide us with a blog post about their project and so I’ll hand the content over to them:

Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis (MIRA)

Imagine Cup entry by Team Eye Works


Four students from the North East of England have been bought together to make up Team Eye Works. The team is competing in the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Consisting of 3 students from Northumberland University, and one student from Newcastle College, the team came together with a wide range of skills, with the intention of tackling one of the world’s great problems.

The Problem

A lot of people take the gift of sight for granted, and don’t realise how easily this gift can be taken away from them, due to everyday conditions, which, if detected early, can be prevented.

In the UK, recent studies have shown that 2 million people were living with various degrees of sight loss. It has been shown that 50% of the 2 million cases could have been prevented, and the World Health Organisation has discovered that 90% of people suffering from sight loss are living within the developing world.

Out of the various causes of sight loss, the main contributors are cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.


Team Eye Works have proposed to tackle this problem by making a mobile platform app capable of detecting the symptoms of the previously mentioned causes of sight loss.


This shall be accomplished by creating a piece of software which will be capable of analysing an image of the human retina to detect different abnormalities. This will be done by comparing the taken image against a library of images. The library of images shall contain pictures of retinal abnormalities. By using Microsoft Azure, the software will be able to upload and download images for analysis. It is important to use a system such as Microsoft Azure, as it can contain, and store a large amount of data, which will be available almost anywhere in the world, without the need for a physical backup. This will allow Team Eye Works’ solution to be used globally. Apart from the cloud, the mobile app will also be able to do a local comparison of the retina image using neural networks. A different neural network will be trained beforehand for each disease and used on the mobile app to quickly analyse the retinal image and give a probability of infection. As internet connectivity is not as reliable in developing countries this feature is required. It was decided to go with the neural network approach to effectively use the limited memory and computational power of mobile phones, as the approach of comparing retinal image with the image database (used by the cloud) is highly expensive, demanding a lot of computational and memory requirements.

Whilst the software is a very important element of the proposed solution from Team Eye Works, hardware is just as important. The solution will be developed for Windows Mobile technology, and will require other physical elements. Currently there is no mobile device on the consumer market that has a suitable camera and lens package. This has meant that Team Eye Works have researched, and developed a lens attachment and an apparatus used for chin rest and the camera stand, that will be capable of allowing mobile devices to capture best quality image of the retina, which will be suitable for the image analysis. The image displayed below shows the flow of the proposed system.