BYU students in top 10 finalists of Microsoft Design competition

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PROVO — A capstone project helped BYU students rank in the top 10 finalists of the nationwide Microsoft Imagine Cup Software Design Competition. The students designed a software for dairy farmers that will help increase efficiency in cattle reports and will lower the costs of food.

The four BYU seniors that make up the team, 'LegenDairy,' represent the only university from Utah to make it to the finals in Seattle. Microsoft is sponsoring the event, and will be flying each of the ten teams from across the country to the National competition on April 20-23, where they will compete to go on to the World competition hosted in Australia on July 6, 2012.

The students, who will graduate soon, have been working on the project since August 2011 with the help of their adviser, Chia-Chi Teng. Teng worked for Microsoft before teaching at BYU, and came up with the idea for the project because of a friend that owns a dairy farm.

We are really excited to represent our school on a national level and show what we have accomplished to more than just a few advisers and judges.

–Kevin Brown.

The concept behind the software is that farmers can now track each individual cow with an ear tag, and have more accurate and consistent updates on the health of the cow via mobile devices and tablets that can be used in the field.

This new technology is intended to help to lower the costs of farming, hopefully resulting in lower food costs that will benefit people worldwide — especially in the developing world.

But 'LegenDairy' has been through their share of ups and downs in creating the software over the past few months.

"One of the biggest challenges is getting all the devices in sync and working together, getting the scanner talking to the Bluetooth device, etc." said team member, Kevin Brown. "We have had a lot of sleepless nights."

The team is looking forward to competing in the national competition, however. "We are really excited to represent our school on a national level and show what we have accomplished to more than just a few advisers and judges," Brown said.

The national Microsoft cup is split into two different categories: game design and software design. The BYU team will be competing in the software design competition where they can win and advance to the world cup in two different ways.

The judges will select a winner based on their presentation, creativity, and the effectiveness of their developed software. The team can also win the People's Choice Award by gaining the most votes on Facebook and Twitter which will advance them to the next level.

Brown said the team is looking forward to competing, but not just for a prize. "More than just making a name for ourselves, we want to make an impact on the industry," said Brown.

To vote for the team, visit their Facebook page here.


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Faith Heaton


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