This year's Imagine Cup, Microsoft's annual competition for students, is reaching the US finals in preparation for the worldwide finals to be held in Poland in July.
The challenge is to create something using software/hardware that in broad terms makes the future better and win part of the total $36,000 in prize money.
Each year there is a general theme and this year it's the eight united nations millennium development goals. Competition categories include: software design, embedded development, game design, digital media and an IT Challenge.
Teams of students are invited to enter and create something innovative For example, a team from Wayne State University has developed a mobile phone with biosensors that measure and report blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Just the thing to pick up signs of stress during a coding or debugging session! The intention, however, is to use the device to reduce cardiovascular disease in the general population and help diagnosis in remote regions. The device uses cloud computing principles and can transmit all the data, including the patient's GPS location, to a database where it can be used by a health worker.
In the run-up to the U.S. finals, each team has prepared a video and is soliciting votes for the People's Choice Award. Each member of the team with the most votes will receive a Flip camcorder.
All you have to do is visit the web page, view the presentations and vote on which one you think is best.
Although the US finalists for these competitions have been selected, there are still opportunities for students to participate in the new Envisioning 2020 Award and the Windows Phone 7 Series “Rockstar” Award categories. Participants can extend current projects underway in the main competition categories for these special awards or can enter the awards exclusively.
The Envisioning 2020 Award challenges students to express their vision for how technology could transform people’s lives by the year 2020. Students are asked to create video submissions that are inventive, have the greatest potential for impact, and are the most technically plausible to transform our lives 10 years in the future.
To win the Windows Phone 7 Series “Rockstar” Award, Windows Phones and cash prizes, teams are challenged to create a Windows Phone 7 Series application in either Silverlight or XNA. Participating students have the opportunity to be one of the first developers to build an app for Phone 7. Students enrolled in the Microsoft DreamSpark program, which provides free access to developer tools from Microsoft, are waived registration fees for the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Free Windows Phone Developer Tools are available at http://developer.windowsphone.com.
Look out for news of the Imagine Cup finals in July!