Team Skeek from Thailand won top honors at last week's Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in Warsaw. More than 325,000 students from around the world participated in the eighth annual Imagine Cup, a competition sponsored by Microsoft Corp. that challenges high-school and college students to create technology solutions for the world's toughest problems.
The awards ceremony capped the weeklong Imagine Cup World Festival, where students demonstrated their projects and competed for cash prizes totaling $240,000 through five competition categories and six achievement awards.
"These student projects are sophisticated technology accomplishments that highlight the incredible things that can happen when inspired ideas and the will to make them happen come together," said Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, in announcing the awards. "These students should make us all proud, as they are taking concrete steps to help others and make our world a better place. With their passion and the assistance of technology, these young adults can and will affect the future."
Team Skeek won the $25,000 grand prize in the software design category for its project, eyeFeel, which lets the hearing impaired communicate with other people through an augmented-reality environment.
According to Microsoft, this year's projects concentrated mainly on education, healthcare and the environment. Competition categories were Digital Media, Embedded Development, Game Design, IT Challenge and Software Design. In addition, there were six achievement awards categories: Envisioning 2020 Award, Interoperability Award, Next Generation Web Award, Touch & Tablet Accessibility Award, Windows Phone 7 "Rockstar" Award and Windows Internet Explorer 8 Award.
The Imagine Cup began in 2003 with 1,000 student participants and has grown to become the premier student technology competition worldwide.
In 2011, the festival will be held in New York, the first time it's being hosted in the U.S. The Imagine Cup 2011 is inspired by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, including ending hunger and poverty, achieving primary education for everyone, promoting gender equality and empowerment, combating widespread disease and ensuring environmental sustainability.