2012-02-01

Co.Exist

Imagine Cup: The Four Student-Led Startups Supported By Microsoft

After challenging students to use technology to solve problems, the software giant is now giving cash and help to four winners to help take their ideas—from hands-free computing to mobile malaria diagnosis—to market.

Every year, Microsoft holds the Imagine Cup, a competition that challenges students ages 16 and older to "imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems” by innovating in software design, game design, embedded development, digital media, and on the Windows Phone 7 platform. This year, for the first time, the technology giant went one step further and launched the Imagine Cup Grants Program, a $3 million, three-year program that gives winners access to everything they need to create a successful startup: capital ($75,000 for each team), software, cloud computing services, investor contacts, and more. Check out the winners below.

SkillBox
Team Falcon Dev, an Ecuador-based team, developed SkillBox, a wireless headset that translates audio recorded by teachers into sign language and then sends it to a computer, where it can be shown on a screen for hearing-impaired students. In the future, the students believe that the software used to make the program can be tweaked to run on virtually any platform or device.

Lifelens
Hailing from the U.S., this team offered up a tool that allows users to diagnose malaria using an augmented Windows Phone app. A lens attached to the back of the phone allows users to grab ultra high-res pictures of blood cells and then see which ones are affected by malaria.

KiDnect
Croatia’s Team Apptenders developed a piece of Kinect-based software to ensure that children are keeping to their correct physical therapy routines by sending statistical analyses to their physical therapists.

Horizon
Developed by the Jordan-based Team Oasys, this hardware and software system lets people who don’t have full use of their arms and hands use a computer—all by translating head movements into computer mouse movements.

Microsoft

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