ECE Seniors Win Microsoft Imagine Cup Award
By Mark Dwortzan
Nick Lippis, Brad Berk, Robins Patel, and Patrick Maruska (all ECE'13) presenting their software system, Pitch, on ECE Day.
Since 2003, students from more than 190 countries have submitted innovative ideas addressing key societal challenges to the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition. This spring a team of Electrical & Computer Engineering seniors became one of 13 finalists to compete in the Imagine Cup U.S. Finals and pitch their business to the Silicon Valley startup community. They came away with a $1,000 SkyDrive Boost Award for skillfully incorporating the SkyDrive API—a file-hosting service that provides access to cloud computing storage—into their project.
Known as Pitch, the BU team—Brad Berk, Nick Lippis, Patrick Maruska and Robins Patel—won the SkyDrive Boost Award for their innovative software system, which they designed to make it easier and faster to share digital documents in real-time situations, from student collaborations to corporate meetings. Using Windows 8 and a Windows Azure backend server, the team created an account-less yet secure system through which groups of people can efficiently access documents of any file type in a common virtual meeting space.
“I really think our product has the features and the background to really be able to help people to a point where this becomes a part of life for them,” said Patrick Maruska in an interview on Microsoft’s Channel 9. “Email once was this foreign technology that no one could understand, but now it’s something you can’t imagine living without. That’s what we hope Pitch is to the future.”
Team Pitch, which has been developing their idea over the last year as part of their senior design project, garnered the Entrepreneurial Award when they presented their prototype on ECE Day on May 6, and will flesh out their business plan at SMG’s Institute for Technology, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC) Venture Start-up Camp this summer.
Follow Pitch at twitter.com/Pitch_App and www.get-pitch.com.
Chelsea Hermond (SMG ’15) contributed to this article.
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