University Students: enter the Imagine Cup Accessible Technology contest (open until 5/2/08)

Do you have aspirations to showcase your design skills and creativity? The Microsoft Imagine Cup is a great opportunity to do so! The Cup is for university students around the world. There are various contest categories, such as software, gaming, embedded, and my favorite, Interface Design. Why is it my favorite, you ask? Well, because the Interface Design category includes an Accessible Technology Award!

To enter the Accessible Technology contest, your entry has to clearly articulate and solve a real-world, accessibility scenario. An accessibility scenario woulld improve technology access for people with physical and cognitive disabilities, and for people who face temporary difficulties. An example of temporary situation is someone working in a loud factory and therefore, cannot hear their computer sounds. Another user group to consider is people who are aging and dealing with age-related functional limitations.

Another criteria for the Accessible Technology contest is to show how accessible technologies enable your solution. The range of accessible technologies is quite deep with a lot of platform capabilities. For example, the UI Automation APIs enable programmatic access to the operating system and applications. It is used to “drive” the user interface, on behalf of the user. Another example is the speech technologies, used for text-to-speech output and voice recognition.

So, we encourage you to form a team and participate in the Imagine Cup! For full entry criteria and other details, visit the Imagine Cup Accessible Technology site.