Foodbank puts students on world stage

A system that connects food vendors with charities has won its student developers a spot in the Microsoft Imagine Cup finals in Russia.

Imagine Cup 77 crop

Microsoft Australia Managing Director Pip Marlow (left) with Team 'Confufish Royale' (L-R) Matthew Moss, Kenneth Wong, Nick Darvey & Brad Lorge

A system that connects food vendors with charities has won its student developers a spot in the Microsoft Imagine Cup international finals in St Petersburg, Russia.

‘Team Confufish Royale’ won the Australian finals of the student competition, which invites participants to create technology solutions for tough problems currently facing the world.

UNSW’s Brad Lorge, Matthew Moss and Kenneth Wong – all from the School of Computer Science and Engineering – teamed up with QUT’s Nick Darvey, a Digital Media student, to improve local food distribution schemes.

Their solution is Foodbank Local, a system that connects supermarkets and smaller food vendors with charities. Charities can go ‘online shopping’ to view what food is available where, and suppliers can input their available stock into the system.

Foodbank Local also allows for real-time tracking of deliveries, which can radically improve the way food is managed, says Lorge.  

“Foodbank Local works as a food management system as well as a logistics system, as it aims to cut out unnecessary travel and storage time that current distributors experience.

“It’s setting a new paradigm for food distribution,” he says.  

The team has been assisted by one of Australia’s largest food aid distributors, Foodbank, and will have access to their trucks and donor organisations when their system goes to trial in May.

While the team is looking forward to taking their concept to Russia, the prospect of winning $50,000 is the “least good thing” about the competition, says Lorge.  

“What we are really excited about is the exposure of our idea and the opportunity to receive research grants. We’re keen to keep adapting it over the next decade as technologies evolve and improve.”

The Microsoft Imagine Cup finals is on from 8-11 July.

Media Contact: Cassie Chorn, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8107