VCU to lead U.S. in Microsoft's Imagine Cup

May 8, 2006

Four Virginia Commonwealth University students were chosen Friday to represent the United States in the Software Design Invitational of Image Cup 2006.

Microsoft's Imagine Cup competition is for technology students who compete for best in creative and technological innovations. This is VCU's second win in a row.

Representing the United States in the worldwide competition to be held in Delhi, India, are William Calder, Joanne Cunningham, A. Brooks Hollar and Brandon Saunders, who received a cash award of $8,000 and a trip to the worldwide finals this summer for a chance at more than $25,000 in cash prizes.

"The bar was set very high with this Imagine Cup competition -- we're thrilled and honored to be named U.S. champion and going to India to the worldwide finals," Hollar stated. "The Imagine Cup is such an exciting event and allows students like me and my team to do something that really matters: work together to create software solutions that make a difference in the real world."

The VCU students developed PocketDoc, an application that runs on mobile devices linking doctors and patients, allowing doctors to see if patients are adhering to treatment guidelines, as well as enabling patients to be more responsible for their own treatment through alerts and notifications when medication is needed.

Some 46 students from 13 teams were selected to participate in this year's U.S. Imagine Cup finals, where they were asked to create using Microsoft technology and .NET Web Services based on competition's theme: "Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives."

Teams had to survive two qualifying rounds of competition before making the finals.

In second place was a team from the University of Nebraska at Omaha who developed the Emergency Stick. The microchip bracelet -- an encrypted USB device -- holds medical history and provides emergency real-time feedback about recommended treatment and is compatible with PDAs, mobiles, Tablet PCs and desktop computers.

In third was a team from East Tennessee State University who came up with the GenkiNet, an easy-to-use home health monitoring system that can read and store personal health information that could be accessed by a health professional.

"The students at this year's Imagine Cup represent the next generation of technology and business leaders," said Sanjay Parthasarathy, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Developer and Platform Evangelism, whose team organizes the Imagine Cup. "Each team has created an application that demonstrates the power of software in solving real-world problems. Their creativity, innovation and commitment to improving people's lives is inspiring, and speaks volumes about their futures and that of technology overall."

Last year's worldwide finals in Yokohama, Japan, had nine categories based around the theme, "Imagine a world where technology dissolves the boundaries between us," in which the Imagine Cup 2005 World Champion was awarded to Team OmniMusic from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Moscow State University in Russia.

The team won $25,000 for their software design in which they used technology to create an online music community to unite musicians, saying that music is a universal language.

The community they developed would allow musicians to find other musicians of complementary skills and interests, perform live in a distributed environment, and share the real-time performance via IP multicasting, allowing musicians to plug instruments into a computer or mobile device, staying connected and in synch while performing in different locations.

This year's finals will have teams compete in six categories based on technology enabling healthier lives. Finals are likely to be held from July 28 to Aug. 1, 2006.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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