Microsoft announces Imagine Cup 2012 winners

Microsoft has announced the winners of 2012's Imagine Cup, hosted this year in Sydney.

Microsoft has announced the winners of 2012's Imagine Cup, hosted this year in Sydney.

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The tenth competition of its line brings students together from around the globe in order to promote technological innovation. Given an issue or problem which is considered a global concern, teams of students work to develop a technological solution.

The teams were required to develop an idea, set and define a clear business plan, and then create a product, which may result in financial backing after the competition's closure.

This year's winners of the Software Design project hail from Ukraine. The team, quadSquad, developed a pair of custom sensory-gloves. Coupled with a smartphone application, sign language gestures and motions are translated into real-time speech.

The team's device, Enable Talk, used 15 flex sensors and a microcontroller. Bluetooth technology was enabled to transmit movements to the smartphone app. 

This year, 23 percent of projects were focused on improving the quality of life for those with disabilities -- including visual and hearing impairments.  Maxim Osika, from the winning team, said:

"We were inspired to help our friends who are hearing- and speech-impaired to have the ability to communicate like everyone else. The Imagine Cup is an amazing experience; we're thrilled to be here learning from the experts around us."

A team from Japan, Coccolo, took second place, and Portuguese team wi-GO snatched the third spot.

Other challenges included using the Windows Azure platform, game design, the creation of apps through Metro, and the development of Windows phone compatible apps.

Over 350 students from 75 countries travelled to Sydney for the finals after competing in a number of online and local events. Across eight competition categories, approximately $175,000 in cash was awarded to the winning teams.

The results were announced as part of a five-day celebration at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Image credit: Microsoft