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Students from Croatia, Ecuador, Jordan and the United States receive funding and other support in the first year of the Microsoft Imagine Cup Grants program.
At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting yesterday in Davos, Switzerland, Microsoft Corp. announced the winners of the inaugural year of the Imagine Cup Grants program, a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program for student technology and social entrepreneurs.
The grant packages include $75,000 (U.S.) for each team, as well as software, cloud computing services, solution provider support, premium Microsoft BizSpark account benefits and access to local resources such as the Microsoft Innovation Centers. Microsoft will also connect grant recipients with its network of investors, nongovernmental organization partners and business partners.
Team Lifelens was my favorite entry from the United States this past year. I met with the team prior to the US Finals. Lifelens is an innovative point-of-care tool to diagnose malaria using an augmented Windows Phone application. The project addresses the unacceptably high child-mortality rates caused by the lack of detection and availability of treatment of malarial diseases.
You use a Windows Phone application to take a picture through a special lens of a slide of blood. It uses its high resolution imaging sensor and requires a micro ball lens attachment. The Phone app can inspect the image and adds geo-location information. The pictures are uploaded when there is connectivity.
For a interview with the team, see LifeLens: A smartphone application that can detect malaria on The Next Web .
Also winning grants:
Croatia. KiDnect is a Kinect-based solution for on-premise and remote physical therapy for children. This software has the ability to monitor a child’s exercises to ensure they are being completed correctly, and then it provides statistical analysis to the therapist.
Ecuador. SkillBox is an affordable solution to help children who are hearing impaired by translating audio received from a teacher in a classroom into sign language. A wireless headset captures the sound and sends it to the computer, and then SkillBox shows the corresponding sign for the word or phrase.
Jordan. Horizon is a software and hardware system that allows people who do not have use of their hands or arms to use a computer. Specifically, it tracks head movements and translates these movements into mouse movements. Users are able to have full control of a computer and cellphone, browse the Internet, type, and connect with ease at a low cost.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Imagine Cup, which will be celebrated at the worldwide finals in Sydney, Australia, July 6–10. Students ages 16 and older are eligible to register and compete in Imagine Cup 2012 by visiting the Imagine Cup website at http://www.imaginecup.com. In addition to the Software Design and Game Design: Xbox and Windows competitions, categories include Windows Phone Challenge, Windows Azure Challenge, IT Challenge, Windows Metro App Style Challenge and Kinect Fun Labs Challenge. Last year, more than 350,000 students from 183 countries registered to compete for cash and other prizes.
Bruce D. Kyle ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation