Microsoft and BT to sponsor up-and-coming software authors

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microsoft.pngMicrosoft and British Telecom have launched an initiative that should help turn the ideas of bright technology students into working, commercial products.

The 2007 Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator will see six student teams from six countries participate in an intensive two-week technical and business training workshop where their real-world ideas can be transformed into reality.

The students’ remit is to “imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives.” and the course will take place at Microsoft UK’s Innovation Centre in Reading, Berkshire.

“These outstanding student developers are poised to shape the future of software and information technology with their Imagine Cup projects,” said Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president of the Developer & Platform Evangelism Group at Microsoft. “In the Innovation Accelerator program, we help the students combine their technical skills with practical know-how so that they can create a business plan, attract investors and launch a successful product.”

This is the second annual ICIA, this year comprising of 21 students from Brazil, China, Croatia, Germany, Italy and Norway.

Innovative ideas include vEye, a virtual eye that gives blind users information about their environment by utilising RFID tags; Project Helen, an intelligent, entertaining healthcare system; SmartECG, a heart rate monitor and transmitter; Trailblazers, a navigation system for those with physical disabilities; “Hello World”, for improving the patient-doctor relationship; and MediWatch, for integrating health-monitoring devices via mobile devices.

Though not a competition, teams with ideas that seem the most promising may be offered the opportunity to continue to develop their ideas with Microsoft and BT. The teams will also gain access to venture capitalists.

Concepts will be unveiled at a reception at BT Tower in London on 26th January.

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Andy Merrett