When Microsoft holds its Design Expo later this year, it should be of greater interest for South Africans as Vega has had an all-female team chosen to present their ideas at the firm’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

The team, pictured above from left to right, consists of Madelene Cronje, Keitumetse Pole, Luani Matthÿser, Amy Jayne Burrow and Sandra Pavic, were with creating a user experience prototype which addressed a real-world problem.

In keeping with the theme of empathy, the students’ idea incorporates a mix of virtual reality, augmented reality, 360-degree cameras and other technologies. This immersive mixed reality technology was used to help people experience different cultures and actively engage in events and activities from anywhere in the world, the team explains.

“We are grateful and extremely excited that we have been given this opportunity to represent our country,” noted Matthyser. “As young females, the opportunity to present our ideas on an equal platform to that of the rest of the world inspires us to pioneer change in our industry,” she adds.

“We are so proud of Amy, Madelane, Luani, Sandra and Keitumetse, who worked together to come up with an incredibly insightful and well-thought out design solution for a challenge that many people in the world face,” added Shevon Lurie, Vega MD.

Along with getting an all-female team to present at the Design Expo, Vega is also the first African design school to take part, with more than 50 design schools taking part since the Expo was first established in 2010.

“The Microsoft Design Expo provides students with a platform to share ideas that will make a big impact on the world around them, encouraging them to think outside of the curriculum to understand how design can make a difference,” says Lillian Barnard, Microsoft South Africa MD.

“It’s also a great stepping-stone for students as it puts them in a position to launch their careers long before they graduate,” she concludes.

With innovative ideas always welcome locally, it should be interesting to see how this team can get their experiential project into the right hands and potentially a wider audience.