Fifteen teams compete for cash in Imagine Cup technology competition

The Imagine Cup is an annual technology competition that brings together students around the world to showcase their innovative technology creations to help resolve some of the world’s toughest challenges. Now in its seventh year, this program is one way Microsoft Corp. helps foster students with skills, experience and connections for both their academic and professional career.

The Imagine Cup encourages students to apply their innovation and creativity to using technology to make a difference in the world today.

The theme centers on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, which outline some of the hardest challenges in the world today such as fighting hunger and poverty and eradicating AIDS, as well as improving education, maternal health and environmental sustainability. For Imagine Cup contestants these are guiding pillars to inspire change all over the world.

Students develop technology-based solutions to address the Imagine Cup theme, competing for cash prizes and career-boosting opportunities, in nine categories: Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Development, Robotics and Algorithm, IT Challenge, MashUp, Design, Photography and Short Film.

Fifteen teams, narrowed down from thousands of students representing over 125 schools, will compete for cash prizes in the Imagine Cup 2009 U.S. Finals May 2–5 in Cambridge, Mass. The winning team will also go on to represent the U.S. at the Imagine Cup 2009 Worldwide Finals in Cairo, Egypt, July 3–9.

About the Teams and Projects
The following 15 teams are finalists in the U.S. software design invitational and will be competing at the Imagine Cup 2009 U.S. Finals in Cambridge, Mass.

Aurora Borealis
Developed by a trio of Ph.D. students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Aurora Borealis is a cost-effective mobile healthcare infrastructure that addresses the needs of expectant mothers and children in rural, underdeveloped countries around the world. The graphical expert system captures images of the patient’s condition to ensure that medical help reaches expectant mothers in a timely manner.

CU Game Dev
TeachMe, from a quartet from the University of Colorado at Boulder, including two Imagine Cup veterans, combines the best elements of and to provide dedicated teachers and driven students with a resource to discover high-quality lesson plans. Users have the ability to edit lesson plans and vote on the most beneficial, ensuring a higher level of circulation.

LifeCode Health, a Boston-based startup venture developed by an MIT junior and three Wayne State University students, focuses on redefining the effectiveness and usability of modern-day medical data and information systems through the use of integrative software and technology that records, organizes, accesses and securely stores information in a digital format. By combining wearable computing via sensors and self-configuring eco-monitoring, the system enables patient care to be conducted remotely to a home environment, rural community, developing nation or disaster zone.

Lucky Tomatoes
The brainchild of team Lucky Tomatoes, two seniors at Purdue University both majoring in computer and information technology, this system assists in the coordination of rescuers during emergency search and rescue operations by tracking rescuers’ locations in real time. Technologies including Windows Mobile, global positioning system, SMS and Microsoft MapPoint are combined to create this product that ensures time is not wasted in searching areas more than once.

The Computer-Assisted Medication Regimen Adherence (CAMRA) application developed by team MangoBunnies, the first all-female team to advance to the U.S. finals, discreetly and conveniently supports HIV and AIDS patients by providing a medication regimen directly to their personal mobile device. CAMRA uses an XML Web service to send profile data from the Web site to a patient’s personal mobile device and retrieves information about user history. This application leverages the portability and convenience of mobile devices to turn them into stand-alone healthcare products.

Missouri State
The brainchild of Brian Hawkins, GreenENV assists corporations “going green” by showing companies where waste is happening in datacenters or server racks by monitoring carbon footprint and temperature difference.

MultiPoint Web
MultiPoint Web, developed by three brothers from Oregon, builds upon existing education systems to provide a set of low- to no-cost Web-based learning activities that allow multiple students to use one computer at the same time to maximize use with limited hardware and funding. This Web-based solution allows for a growing repository of new lessons, courses and activities to be shared around the world in multiple languages.

Developed by four undergraduate students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, PRODIGY (Positioning Research on Dynamic Information Globally Yielded) harnesses the power of technology to provide a mechanism through which parents, doctors and medical researchers of pediatric cancer patients are able to enter data into a worldwide accessible database. The information contained in this database consists of demographic data, the type of pediatric cancer affecting each child, and the related environmental influences.

Safe Teen Driving
Safe Teen Driving, a quartet of University of Utah students, developed the Key2SafeDriving application that encompasses an all-inclusive solution to the problem of teenagers using cell phones while driving. With Key2SafeDriving, a regular car key is transformed to include a Bluetooth device that syncs with the driver’s cell phone, and blocks calls and text messages while the car is operating. The system starts with a location-based service for calculating routes and tracks driving behavior as well as reduces driving distractions.

SoCal Team Rio Hondo
Project Clean Air, developed by a quartet of students at the Rio Hondo Community College, allows mobile devices to take picture images on the spot and send them to a database for scientists and environmentalists to perform analysis and determine pollution levels. Variations in key properties of the picture allow it to be processed and categorized so that geographic information systems can make use of the information.

The brainchild of Team SoCal_SURF, three students at Rio Hondo Community College and one senior at Whittier High School, Super Urban Relief provides the tool necessary to promote monitored delivery by nongovernmental organizations of relief products to developing countries and impoverished people. The tool tracks shipments by way of its video, voice, Internet and picture capabilities from the time they leave the donor country to the doorstep of the receiving nation.

Sons of Liberty
The innovation of team Sons of Liberty, composed of four students at Rio Hondo Community College, Liberty Learning offers downloadable and expandable lesson plans to remote areas that are updated automatically through Wi-Fi technology. Liberty Learning allows children to learn using any computer running Windows XP, Windows Vista or higher operating system, or a Windows Mobile device running Windows Mobile 6.0 or higher. The program is designed to work as a virtual learning environment without the need to consistently be online.

Special Child
The Special Child application, developed by four graduate students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, provides assistance and organization to the adoption process for potential parents and case workers. The application puts in place a centralized database that stores information about children in need of a permanent home and potential adoptive parents. Special Child is built on the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and user interface will be developed using ASP.NET.

Too Much Carbon Monoxide
Too Much Carbon Monoxide, from a duo of students working on their master of science degrees in electrical engineering at Utah State University, harnesses Windows Mobile-based Smartphones to implement a distributed pollution and pollution prediction system. The system is accessible via mobile handsets such as mobile phones and other PDAs with packet data connections, so users can reference the pollution status with their position in real time.

WeLearn Foundation
The WeLearn Foundation, developed by two students at Rio Hondo Community College, utilizes the Windows Mobile 6.1 platform as a learning tool that incorporates SMS messaging, images, videos and sound bites for teaching children in third-world countries. Students are able to seek guidance at any point of their education with videos, e-mailing teachers and tutors, and extracting ideas from blogs and peers.