The Imagine Cup brings together students from all walks of life from around the world and tasks them with a big challenge: solve the world’s toughest problems through technology.  

I have been involved in the competition for all of its nine years, and each year, I am astounded by the caliber of the projects.  The creators aren’t just innovators, but busy students.  And yet, they manage to develop projects that could make a difference in the lives of many.

As I look at the project list, I can’t help but notice a couple of overwhelming trends that reflect students’ role at the cutting edge of technology.  First, 75% of all software design projects utilize Windows Phone 7 in new ways, such as diagnosing disease and enhancing healthcare.  Half of the software design projects use Windows Azure as a way to scale and share data in their solutions.  And, we have ten projects utilizing Kinect.

The Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals will be held July 8-13 in New York City.  This year, more than 400 international students, made up of 124 student teams from 73 countries, will gather to compete for top honors.  Beginning today, everyone can get involved in the excitement by voting for the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide People’s Choice.

The People’s Choice competition allows the public to review many of the projects that will be a part of the worldwide finals and select their favorite.  You can vote once per day.  Pick a project that addresses an issue that is important to you, or show your pride by voting for your national team.  I invite you to watch the videos, and prepare to be impressed.

To learn more about Imagine Cup and vote, please visit the People’s Choice site.  Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists!

Namaste!