Four students from Arizona State University were named the Imagine Cup U.S. winners in the Software Design category on Monday and will go on to the Imagine Cup 2011 worldwide finals in New York City this coming summer, competing against student teams from more than 70 countries and regions around the world.

The students - Michael Astrauskas, David Hayden, Shashank Srinivas and Qian Yan – won with a project that enables low-vision students to take notes in class with the assistance of a custom-designed, portable camera, a touch-screen Tablet PC and Microsoft OneNote.

The Note-Taker project was inspired by one of the team’s legally blind members, David Hayden, who found it difficult to keep up with note-taking in blackboard-intensive math courses. Hayden and his teammates developed Note-Taker with support from the university’s Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (and Hayden subsequently aced those same math courses).

The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition and challenges students to build life-changing projects that change the world. Microsoft created the competition nine years ago as a way to highlight and recognize student innovation around the globe as well as to inspire young minds to study technology. Each year, the projects have become more inspirational and impactful. Students who participate gain real-world skills that help them in school, in their careers or even as they commercialize their projects, all while tackling global problems.

For more details on this year’s Imagine Cup, check out this image gallery and this video of Team Note-Taker on the Microsoft News Center. You can also check out all the student projects.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog