Khalifa University student, Khalid Al Awar, has won first place in the Games Category of the UAE leg of the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Khalid won for his innovative mobile application that turned a popular Gulf board game into a fun 3D mobile game. The app, called Cayram, has been downloaded close to 1 million times to date, with over half a million of those downloads coming from within the GCC.
This is the first time that an Emirati has won the contest since its inception. The Microsoft Imagine Cup is one of the world's most prestigious global student technology competitions. It provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrated solutions that can change the way we live, work, and play.
Khalid, who is a sophomore in Computer Engineering, originally designed the app when he was 16. Cayram is a popular GCC multiplayer board game that requires a high level of skill and accuracy.
Khalid said, "I started this game because I thought the younger generation was drifting towards technology. So, I thought that if I couldn't turn kids away from phones, pads and other devices, perhaps I could put a popular game onto them. While there may be other Cayram apps out there, mine is the only one that uses UAE rules, which is why it's so popular in the GCC."
Khalid will be competing in the Pan-Arab Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, which is scheduled to take place in June in Bahrain. He hopes to win at this level and continue on to the World Finals that will be held in Seattle.
"We are very proud of Khalid for his achievement," said Dr. Arif Al Hammadi, Khalifa University's Executive Vice President. "It's wonderful to see our students develop exciting UAE-based game with new technology, and for that combination to be recognised in a major competition by an industry leader. We are looking forward to seeing the results from the Pan-Arab finals and wish Khalid all the best in the next round of the competition."