Microsoft unveiled a $3 million grant program at the closing ceremony for the Imagine Cup 2011. Teams from Ireland, Taiwan, Brazil, France, Poland and Korea were awarded the top prizes with the People's Choice Award going to a team from Bangladesh.
Announcing the new 3-year, $3 million competitive grant program whereby Imagine Cup teams will be eligible to apply for grants that include a combination of cash, software, training, consulting and other support, S.Somasegar, senior vice president, Developer Division, explained:
“We are in awe of the students’ solutions for addressing social and real-world challenges, and want to help them take their projects to the next level with the financial, technical and business support they need to change the world.”
Team Hermes from Ireland were winners of the $25,000 1st Place prize in the Software Design competition. The team designed a device that plugs into a car and monitors dangerous driving behavior and road conditions, providing instant feedback to both the driver and the car owner. The team’s solution uses embedded technology, Windows Phone 7, Bing Maps and the Windows Azure cloud computing platform to change driving habits and reduce road deaths. Team Note-Taker (United States) came 2nd and OaSys (Jordan) were 3rd.
In Embedded Development Taiwan’s Team NTHUCS won $25,000 with project RIGHT!! This Way, which computes the safest fire escape routes in real time as detected by a wireless sensor network.
There were three first-place winners in the Game Design category, each winning $25,000. In the Mobile subcategory Team Geeklogic, from France, focused on renewable energy with "Brainenergy" a Windows Phone 7 puzzle game. In Web, Poland’s Team Cellardoor created the “Book of Elm,” which encourages players to take care of the environment and in Windows/Xbox, Team Signum Games, from Brazil, solved urban problems including health, education and the environment through a strategy game called "UCan".
In the Windows Phone 7 category for creating Silverlight applications to help solve the world's toughest problems, Korea’s Team HOMERUN took first place with "Peekaboo", an application designed to help family members communicate with each other through a treasure-hunt game.
Eva Longoria presented the People’s Choice Award , a $10,000 prize, to Team Rapture, from Bangladesh for Third Eye, a Windows Phone 7 device for the visually impaired that provides an assistive camera and a special user interface with vibration, speech feedback and voice command.
As is the tradition the ceremonial flag was passed on to next year's host - in this instance to Australia, where the 10th annual Imagine Cup will take place in Sydney in July 2012.