Deaf people don’t have equal opportunities to access education as do others without such a handicap. But there is a hope for them which comes with a new project SilentBooks presented by students from the Czech Republic. Ales Sturala (Andy) and Dominika Sedlaczkova from the Brno University of Technology have decided to take the challenge and compete in the biggest student competition in the world – Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2007. And they have been successful so far. They made it to the finals in Korea with their signing 3D model that provides education for deaf people in sign language instead of classic language. Ales says: “I have been dealing with problems that deaf community has to face for some time now. I’d seen that especially children have a problem to access information when it’s in a written form so I have decided to try to solve it.” Ales is an experienced IC competitor. This is his second time entering finals: “I’d enjoyed it a lot last year. It was great to meet with other students from different countries.” He is happy about his decision to enter the competition despite the fact that he was working on the project for more than half a year almost nonstop: “It was an excellent programming experience for me. I’ve also learnt some new technologies which is great.But this team is not the only hope for the Czech Republic. Imrich Zivcak (Imro) and Lukas Perutka (Lucaso) from the Prague’s Charles University form the Gold Fusion Team and they are going to fight in Hoshimi Programming Battle. These two former roommates have heard about the competition for the first time two years ago and at the beginning were hesitating to enter. At the end they did and this decision brought them to the finals in Korea at the end. Even though that waiting for the results was for them according to Lukas nerve breaking experience they don’t regret it. Imrich is happy about entering the competition not only for the fact that they’ve made it to the finals: “It enabled us to verify our programming abilities.” Both teams believe that they’ll succeed in Korea. Imrich and Lukas had the opportunity to compare their knowledge to that of their competitors already: “We have met with other finalists during semifinals and ended up second then”. Their main concern seems to be safe flight over to Korea. Apart from that they are all excited about getting to know this country, its culture and cuisine. No matter of what is going to happen in Korea, these students know what they want to do with their lives. Ales is moving to Netherlands in September where he is going to study for one year and he hopes that his project will draw interest of some business company which will help with development and distribution of the SilentBooks:” This project hasn’t been created only because of this competition. Its main aim is to help deaf people.” Imrich and Lukas have to get back to their studies soon after the end of the Imagine Cup. They hope that their participation in this event will help them to find a good job later on.
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