Imagine a room full of U.S. students (16 and up) with projects they created to solve the world’s toughest problems. They’re from all over the country. Picture yourself chatting with the students from the University of Arkansas, Team Uca Ursus, about their automated system to track the speed of a skin lesion's progression to better diagnose and treat skin cancer. You then meet team LifeCode from Wayne State University, in Detroit and see how their project, Procūr uses Bing Maps and intelligently manages the humanitarian supply chain of the future – specifically, that during a disaster situation, it connects a broad number of people with information and creates a platform for conducting relief efforts.

Imagine Cup

You might even then turn around and get drawn into playing the game from the University of Houston’s Team AAMP - “Operation Clean Sweep” - that allows you to use a mobile phone to clean up rivers polluted by adjacent cities. In fact, everywhere you turn, there are solutions addressing issues affecting education, the environment, health and more.

In April, 2011, this will not just be something to imagine. It will be quite real when the 22nd Imagine Cup U.S. Finalist teams from across America converge on the Microsoft campus April 8-11 to vie for first place in both Software Design and Game Design competitions in the Imagine Cup, click here to take a look. The winner of the Software Design category will then move forward to represent the United States at the Worldwide Imagine Cup Finals in New York City in July.

Now in its ninth year, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition and showcases students using technology to help solve the world’s toughest problems. It is designed to inspire, prepare and shine the spotlight on the next generation of global innovators and helping prepare the students of today for the jobs and world of tomorrow.

Having attended last year’s US and Worldwide finals, what impressed me most were the creative ways that these students were using technology such as Bing Maps. In fact, over one-third of the teams in the worldwide finals last year integrated Bing Maps into their solutions. For example, team HAQ from Oman created a web application called “Show Me the Traffic,” which provides users with the level of traffic on the roads by utilizing Bing Maps. Their application allows data from traffic detectors to funnel to a web server that would then alert drivers to the current traffic conditions. We know that team LifeCode – mentioned above – is using Bing Maps, but we’ll see next weekend who else is using it.

In the meantime, you can see the teams and their projects and show your support for these students by voting in the People’s Choice Awards for your favorite team and project at Facebook.com/MicrosoftTechStudent. As you watch the project videos, be sure to keep an eye out for other teams with great uses of Bing Maps (and Bing too). The Imagine Cup is the only opportunity of its kind that allows students to tackle the leading societal issues of today; we encourage you to join the movement and get involved by submitting your vote!

Thanks,

Suzi LeVine, Director of Education, Microsoft