Sunday, January 21, 2007

Imagine Cup: Serious Games To Imagine a Better World

A world where technology enables us to live healthier lives

Microsoft and BT Sponsor Budding Software Superstars

Microsoft Corp. and BT have joined forces to help some of the brightest young minds from around the world transform creative ideas into working products in the 2007 Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator.

Over the next two weeks, six student teams from six countries will participate in an intensive technical and business training workshop where they will be coached in the transforming of their software applications and ideas for solving a real-world problem into business reality. The future entrepreneurs will unveil their concepts during a reception at BT Tower in London on January 26, 2007.

The Imagine Cup is the world's premier student technology competition and consists of a number of technology challenges. Teams that competed in the 2006 finals, held in India this past August, developed innovative projects that offer practical applicability and present concrete solutions to real-world problems.

From an initial pool of more than 65,000 students from 100 countries, 181 students in 72 teams representing 42 countries competed during the weeklong program, with six teams in the software design competition proceeding to the 2007 Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator.

The teams worked on a wide variety of projects in keeping with the overarching theme, “imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives":

Brazil, Trivial Team, from the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

vEye (Virtual Eye) gives the blind information about their environment by using radio frequency identification tags located in cities or commercial malls.

China, Frontfree Studio - MISG, from Beijing University of Technology

Project Helen is an intelligent, entertaining healthcare system that includes video games.

Croatia, EKG.Net, from the Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Varazdin, University of Zagreb

The SmartECG monitors a patient's heart rate and transmits data to an application located on a PDA, raising an alarm and providing GPS coordinates if an irregular signal is noted.

Germany, Trailblazers, from the Hamburg University of Applied Science

Trailblazers ”a Pathfinding Community” is a navigation system to enable people with physical disabilities to move in a barrier-free manner.

Italy, Evenctor, from the Polytechnic of Turin and University of Turin

Hello World improves the doctor-patient relationship whereby the doctor can access important information unreported by the patient.

Norway, Team NTNU, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

MediWatch integrates third-party health-monitoring devices through mobile devices such as Smartphones to distribute critical information to health professionals and families.

“These outstanding student developers are poised to shape the future of software and information technology with their Imagine Cup projects", said Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president of the Developer&Platform Evangelism Group at Microsoft. “In the Innovation Accelerator program, we help the students combine their technical skills with practical know-how so that they can create a business plan, attract investors and launch a successful product.

Now in its second year, the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator is a joint project from Microsoft and BT. It is a prize awarded to the best software design teams from the Microsoft Imagine Cup with technical support and business coaching to create the must-have technology and communications applications of the future. This year's teams ”composed of 21 university students from Brazil, China, Croatia, Germany, Italy and Norway” will work closely with technical and business experts to refine their ideas in a hothouse-type environment at the Microsoft Innovation Center in Reading, U.K.