Microsoft Design Expo

These South African ladies are presenting at the Microsoft Design Expo

I’m not really a “news” site so I usually give these types of stories a skip, but this one is too feel good not to share. A group of students from Vega have been selected to present a project at this year’s Microsoft Design Expo and I thought high fives were due all round.

What is the Microsoft Design Expo?

Microsoft Design Expo

The Expo is held at Microsoft HQ in Washington each year. The Expo has been running for 9 years now and was set up to try encourage design schools to integrate technology into their programmes. Vega is the first design school from Africa to take part. Microsoft Research sponsors a class at various design schools. Students in the class form teams and are challenged to solve a real-world problem by designing a user experience prototype. One team from each school is then selected to present at the Expo.

Meet the team

Microsoft Design Expo

Amy Burrow, Madelene Cronje, Luani Matthyser, Sandra Pavic and Keitumetse Pole have been selected to showcase their prototype in Redmond. The theme this year was empathy. The ladies worked to develop a design prototype that would allow people to experience different cultures and be able to engage in events from anywhere in the world. The prototype incorporated a bunch of tech including 360 degree cameras as well as Virtual and Augmented Reality.

I think it is really important to share stories like this not only to celebrate the people involved and the opportunity now presented to them – travelling to Microsoft HQ will allow them to present to people around the world, showcase their innovations and possibly open career opportunities not previously available to them but also I love that challenges such as these allow industries outside of typical STEM and tech ones to get hands on with technology. This is important, it has been estimated that 80% of all future jobs will require some form of education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Projects like this ensure students are better equipped when moving in to the work place to find ways to incorporate new tech and aren’t afraid of it.

Hopefully this prototype is one we get to see turned into a real life product we can all utilise! 

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