The winners of the inaugural round of the Imagine Cup Grants have been announced and a Windows Phone 7 app to combat malaria is one of the selected projects.
Four grants of $75,000 have been made by Microsoft to student teams from Croatia, Ecuador, Jordan and the United States. The Imagine Cup Grants program, announced last July, has been created to help young entrepreneurs market inventions based on Microsoft technology that make a real difference to people's lives.
Bill Gates was on hand for the announcement of the winners at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and met with the team captains to discuss creating opportunity for young people.
The four projects were chosen from among 50 applications, all from finalists of the Imagine Cup 2011. The theme of Imagine Cup in recent years has been
"Imagine a world where technology helps solve the world's toughest problems"
and the four winning projects do indeed provide solutions that will have an impact and use Microsoft technology in innovative ways, as can be appreciated from the project descriptions and videos.
The Kinect is used by Team Apptenders from Croatia to help children with conditions such as cerebral palsy benefit from physical therapy. KidNect has the ability to monitor a child's exercises, both on-premise and remotely, to ensure they are being completed correctly, and to provides statistical analysis to the therapist.
SkillBox, devised by Team Falcon Dev from Ecuador, has been devised 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.
From Jordan, Team OaSys, has devised Horizon, a software and hardware system that allows people who do not have use of their hands or arms to use a computer. Specifically, it uses a Wii-mote to track head movements and translates them into mouse movement, giving users control of a computer and cellphone to connect to and browse the Internet.
Lifelens is a solution devised by the team of the same name from the United States to help combat malaria. It uses a Windows Phone 7 augmented with a lens scrounged from an old CD player that gives 350x magnification to analyse a drop of blood. Using the phone's GPS the uploaded data can then be viewed on Bing Maps.
We all know the Arthur C. Clarke quote about any sufficiently advanced technology looking like magic, but perhaps our own technology is already enough to look like magic if presented in the right way. [ ... ]