The FINANCIAL -- Marking the
10th anniversary of the Microsoft Imagine Cup student technology
competition, Microsoft announced the teams that will head to
the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in July in Sydney, to showcase their
innovative ideas for using technology to solve the world’s toughest
As the winners of regional, national and online Imagine Cup competitions, these students represent the future of technology innovation and entrepreneurialism.
According to Microsoft , student teams from 75 countries have advanced to the finals with projects that tackle humanitarian issues including health, accessibility, the environment, education and more. They will compete at the Worldwide Finals event, July 6–10, for $175,000 (U.S.) in cash prizes in categories including Software Design, Game Design: Phone, Game Design: Xbox/Windows, the Windows Phone Challenge sponsored by Nokia, the IT Challenge, the Windows Azure Challenge, the Kinect Fun Labs Challenge sponsored by Microsoft Studios, and the Windows Metro Style App Challenge sponsored by Windows. In addition, today Microsoft is announcing two new awards for the Worldwide Finalists that are sponsored by The Coca-cola Co.: Environmental Sustainability and Health Awareness. All Worldwide Finalist teams are invited to apply for these awards.
“During the past decade, students have taken the lead in adopting new technologies and championing social transformation,” said Moorthy Uppaluri, general manager, Academic Programs at Microsoft . “Ten years ago, we created Imagine Cup with the idea that students can change the world — and every year they continue to demonstrate their passion and creativity in creating technology that makes the world a better place.”
Microsoft and Coca-cola are also announcing a collaboration to encourage the next generation of young technologists and entrepreneurs to use their creativity and problem-solving skills to improve the environment and healthy living. Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalist teams whose projects target these topics will be eligible to compete for the new Imagine Cup 2012 Environmental Sustainability Award and Health Awareness Award, sponsored by Coca-cola .
“Given the scale and complexity of today’s issues, it’s challenging for one business or even one industry to make a difference alone,” said Guy Wollaert, chief technical officer, The Coca-cola Co. “Coca-Cola’s support of Imagine Cup provides an additional venue for students to be recognized for their innovation in addressing the world’s toughest environmental and health-related issues.”
The winning team for each award will be announced at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in Sydney and each team will be awarded a cash prize of $10,000 (U.S.). A Decade of Imagine Cup
Imagine Cup has inspired a generation, with 1.65 million students from 190 countries participating in the competition during the past decade. Since last year, students from 29 new regions and countries, including Haiti, Rwanda, the Republic of Kosovo and Myanmar, have registered for the competition.
This year marks the first time that the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals event will take place in Australia.
During the first Imagine Cup in 2003, there were a little more than 1,000 registrants from 25 countries, with only 15 finalist teams competing at the Worldwide Finals in Barcelona. Tu Nguyen, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, won first prize with a Pocket PC application designed to bridge the language gap between English-speaking waiters and Vietnamese-speaking chefs. Like many Imagine Cup alumni, Nguyen has gone on to become an entrepreneur and innovator; he was recognized in 2006 by the Midlands Business Journal as one of Omaha’s top 40 executives under 40 years of age, and is now chief technology officer of DocLanding, an online document management provider.
To extend the impact of Imagine Cup, last year Microsoft launched the Imagine Cup Grants program, a three-year, $3 million investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality. The first year of grant recipients were announced in January, including team Lifelens (United States), which developed a Windows Phone application that can detect the presence of malaria through a blood sample. The team is using the financial and in-kind support from the grant to develop its technology into a platform that uses Windows 8-based tablets and addresses other pathological diseases in addition to malaria.
“The Imagine Cup opens up students’ eyes to nontraditional technology applications that can address global issues and enable teams to brainstorm innovative ways to solve these problems,” said Wilson To, on behalf of the team.