Microsoft has announced the winners of the ninth annual Microsoft Imagine Cup, honoring student innovations that address global challenges such as improving road and fire safety, eradicating poverty, and creating a more sustainable environment.
Teams from Ireland, Taiwan, France, Poland, Brazil, Greece, Korea, Denmark and Romania today took home the nine top awards.
Students from 183 countries started out participating in the early stages of the Imagine Cup, the company’s premier student technology competition. Narrowed from a field of more than 350,000 global registrants, more than 400 students from 70 countries traveled to New York to compete in the finals.
Microsoft also announced a $3 million grant program to help Imagine Cup participants solve the world’s toughest challenges. Imagine Cup teams will be eligible to apply for grants that include a combination of cash, software, training, consulting and other support.
Ireland’s Team Hermes won the competition’s premier Software Design category and $25,000 (U.S.) with their project that combined embedded technology, mobile devices and cloud computing technology to change driving habits and reduce road deaths.
Team USA includes:
Arizona State University
Category: Software Design
A portable device that helps visually-impaired students by utilizing a touch-based tablet connected to a camera that shows the whiteboard on one half of the screen and allows notes to be taken on the other half.
UCLA, University of California, Davis, Harvard, University of Central
Category: Windows Phone 7
Lifelens is an innovative point-of-care tool to diagnose malaria using an augmented mobile smartphone application. The project addresses the unacceptably high child mortality rates caused by the lack of detection and availability of treatment of malarial diseases
Category: Game Design (Windows/Xbox)
Azmo the Dragon is a game that helps children learn about their asthma as they play as a dragon who destroys civilizations.
Category: Game Design (Web)
The project aims at inspiring players to take real world actions. The main part of the game focuses on recycling rubbish, gathering experience and taking quests.
Syntax Errors, Santiago
Category: Embedded Development
This self-contained mobile workstation based on an embedded RTOS platform and managed code application allows emergency workers to track assets such as medical suppliers, water, food, and personnel in real time during emergency relief efforts.
Mark Hindsbo, vice president of Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism Group in the U.S. pointed out that 30,000 people will show up and cheer on a high school football team, and some 55 million root for the next American Idol. "How do we get the same number of people cheering for the next technical idol?" he said. "We need the same amount of cheering and passion."
By any yardstick – the number of students competing or the number of countries represented – the Imagine Cup 2011 was the biggest event yet, Microsoft’s Hindsbo said. But there’s still plenty of room to get more people to support the student competitors.
He said that will drive interest in the field, and help lead students to go into science, technology engineering fields (known as STEM), where there is projected to be a major shortfall of job candidates in the coming years.
Imagine Cup 2012
You can register for Imagine Cup 2012 "down under" in Australia beginning on July 15, 2011 at 15:00 GMT. Step up to the challenge!
Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation