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 teams ” finalists in the 2006 Microsoft® Imagine Cup Software Design Competition ” were asked to "imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives. The future entrepreneurs will unveil their concepts during a reception at BT Tower in London on January 26, 2007.
The Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator challenges students to imagine a better world enabled by their own genius, creativity and energy and to provide opportunities for participation in the future of technology.
"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 Centre in Reading, U.K.
"The Innovation Accelerator is a tremendous showcase for the creativity, energy and potential of today's young people to use technology in the service of human needs, said Sinclair Stockman, chief science officer at BT. "The teams participating in this event are setting an example not only for those who might be interested in becoming technology innovators, but anyone who might want to have a positive impact on their community and the world. We are very pleased to co-sponsor this event with Microsoft.
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:
vEye (Virtual Eye) gives the blind information about their environment by using radio frequency identification tags located in cities or commercial malls.
Project Helen is an intelligent, entertaining healthcare system that includes video games.
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.
Trailblazers ” a Pathfinding Community ” is a navigation system to enable people with physical disabilities to move in a barrier-free manner.
Hello World improves the doctor-patient relationship whereby the doctor can access important information unreported by the patient.
MediWatch integrates third-party health-monitoring devices through mobile devices such as Smartphones to distribute critical information to health professionals and families.
"Exploring the latest Microsoft technologies during the Imagine Cup competition has given me the knowledge and expertise to explore new concepts and bring them to life, said Augusto César Pires Spinelli of the Trivial Team (Brazil). "With the development expertise and business planning tips that we gain from Innovation Accelerator, our team hopes that our software design will quickly go from labs to market.
Microsoft and BT are jointly investing in the Innovation Accelerator to demonstrate their respective commitment to fostering student innovation and helping the next generation of software developers realize their dream projects. The students will receive in-depth training on the Microsoft and BT platforms and network assets, as well as coaching on running a startup business, developing a real business plan and attracting venture capital.
The Innovation Accelerator is not a competition ” all the participants are considered "winners. They retain the intellectual property rights and control over their projects, although teams with the most promising ideas may be offered the opportunity to continue working with BT and Microsoft to develop them further. In addition, the teams will gain exposure to the venture capital community, which will also be represented at the event.
These students join the elite ranks of Imagine Cup winners who have gone on to become successful entrepreneurs:
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