Officials from technology giant Microsoft and global communication provider BT have jointly announced the finalists for the 2007 Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator, an event that aims to pit a group of students against each other in a competition to solve real world problems using software applications.
Now in its second year, the two week event asks six student teams from six countries, each of which were finalists in the 2006 Microsoft Imagine Cup Software Design Competition, to “imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives,” a concept that includes the use of games with serious applications.
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 at the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Reading, U.K. The teams will showcase their concepts on January 26 during a reception at BT Tower in London.
Among those projects being developed as part of this competition are Project Helen, a system being developed by Beijing University of Technology's Frontfree Studio – MISG, which is described as an “intelligent, entertaining healthcare system that includes video games.” Another notable competition entry is the vEye (Virtual Eye) from Brazil's Universidade Federal de Pernambuco's Trivial Team, which aims to gives visually impaired persons information regarding their environment using radio frequency identification tags located in cities or malls.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology's Team NTNU is developing a technology that integrates third-party health-monitoring devices through mobile devices such as Smartphones for healthcare monitoring, while the Italian team Even.ctor from the Polytechnic of Turin and University of Turin is working on a project called Hello World, which will allow doctors to access important information unreported by their patients.
Trailblazers, the German team from the Hamburg University of Applied Science, is set to present a navigation system called Trailblazers that will hopefully enable people with physical disabilities to move in a barrier-free manner, while finally Croatia's EKG.Net team from the University of Zagreb is creating the SmartECG, which will monitor patients' heart rates and then send information to an application located on a PDA with GPS coordinates in the event that irregular data is reported.
“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.”