With the excitement generated during the opening ceremony of the Imagine Cup managing to impress, we didn't think it could get any more intense - but lo and behold, even we weren't prepared for the passion.
Assembled in a large marble hall within the Palace of Culture and Science were all competitors, their mentors, press, camera crews, Microsoft volunteers and Microsoft staff, facing a large stage and surrounded on both sides by bold Imagine Cup imagery.
|The Palace of C&S, as it filled with Imagine Cup participants.
Teams bided their time and waited with impatient excitement, each visibly bursting with the culmination of months of hard work. The sheer energy bubbling in that one hall could most likely power an entire city, and it wasn't long before teams could wait no longer.
So they started cheering.
What began as a simple cry from a single team soon dominoed, the exhilarated screams of pent-up energy exponentially increasing as, one by one, all of the teams in the hall joined in and let fly - their screams reverberating against the hard surfaces within, building the volume with each extra voice.
This cacophonous display made even the soccer world cup's fans look half-hearted by comparison, and it was easy to let oneself get lost in the fiery sea of enthusiasm. We caught ourselves cheering too, as though compelled by a force greater than the sum total of those in the room!
|The Brazilian team mid-cheer.
Microsoft's Jon Perera took to the stage after the cheers slowed to a mere roar, and announcers introduced the twelve Software Design teams and ten Embedded Design teams that would move into the second round of the Imagine Cup.
Though some were inevitably disappointed that they did not move further in the Cup, spirits remained high as competitors rallied for each other in a heartening show of support.
Competitors today displayed their entries to press and foe alike, as we wandered around the bustling collection of projects. It was difficult to remain unawed at the high quality and depth of thought that some showed.
Those competitors who will move into the finals will be announced overnight, with the winners announced at the Imagine Cup World Festival on July 8.
As the Cup continues, take a look through our gallery of photos to see these projects in more detail.