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Imagine Cup 2011 Winners Selected

Winners have been selected for the ninth annual Microsoft Imagine Cup. The company also revealed plans to launch a $3 million competitive grant program later this summer.

A field of 350,000 registrants was narrowed to more than 400 students from 70 countries who competed at the worldwide finals in New York.

The theme for this year's competition was imagining a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems. Though it was not required, entrants were encouraged to use the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as a starting point. The Millennium Development Goals are ending hunger and poverty, promoting gender equality and empowerment, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating widespread disease, ensuring environmental stability, and developing a global partnership for development.

Three winners were chosen in each of five competition categories. The categories were software design, embedded development, game design, digital media, and Windows Phone 7.

In the software design category, students created software, service solutions, and applications intended to benefit society. The winners were:

In the embedded development category, students worked with hardware and software to build solutions that use Windows Embedded Compact 7. The winners were:

The game design category consisted of three tracks, mobile, web, and Windows/Xbox, in which students designed games that helped to improve the global community. The winners were:

In the digital media category students created Web videos to generate awareness of global issues. The winners were:

In the Windows Phone 7 category students created XAP applications to help solve world problems. The winners were:

The Imagine Cup also included four challenges that gave students an opportunity to win a share of $215,000 and other prizes.

In the interoperability challenge students were asked to pair free open source software with technologies from Microsoft and other companies to create new applications. The winners were:

In the IT challenge, students were tested on their knowledge of IT systems with unique problems to solve. The winners were:

For the orchard challenge students created modules such as shopping carts, checkout systems, social interactivity, and geolocation services. The winners were:

In the Windows 7 touch challenge students developed solutions with Windows Touch to expand the possibilities of how users interact with computers. The winners were:

Team Rapture from American International University in Bangladesh won the Imagine Cup 2011 People's Choice Award and $10,000. The team created a Windows Phone 7 device called Third Eye that helps visually impaired users with a camera and a special user interface with vibration, speech feedback and voice command.

Windows Phone 7, the most commonly used technology in the competition, was featured in 48 percent of the projects. Uses included finding the nearest recycling center and helping disaster victims broadcast their location.

Windows Azure was used in 32 percent of the projects to integrate crowd-sourced and satellite data, among other uses.

Environmental issues were the focus of 24 percent of the finalist projects and 60 percent of all game design projects. Disaster relief was addressed by 23 percent of the projects, while helping people with disabilities was the goal of 22 percent of the projects.

"The innovators, entrepreneurs and humanitarians who compete in the Imagine Cup have developed an inspiring spectrum of projects, raising the bar higher and higher each year," said S. Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft's developer division. "We are in awe of the students' solutions for addressing social and real-world challenges, and want to help them take their projects to the next level with the financial, technical and business support they need to change the world."

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