Microsoft has organized its Imagine Cup student technology competition for the last 10 years and today, the company opened registration for the 2013 edition of this event. Students ages 16 and older can now register for their national events and the winners of these local events will be flown to St. Petersburg, Russia, where the worldwide finals will take place from July 8 to 11. For this edition of Imagine Cup, Microsoft has doubled the prize money to $300,000.
Microsoft also reorganized the competition around three new core areas: world citizenship, games and innovation. Previously, the flagship event was the software design competition, which a group of Ukrainian students won this year after developing gloves that can translate sign language into speech.
Since the first Imagine Cup in 2003, says Microsoft, over 1.65 million students across the globe have participated in Imagine Cup and a number of the teams that made it to the finals (and many that have not) went on to create startups. 2011 finalist Team OaSys from Jordan, for example, is currently working on bringing its system that allows quadriplegics to control a computer to market. To help the finalists commercialize their ideas, Microsoft also allows them to apply for its three-year, $3 million Imagine Cup Grants.
Here is Microsoft’s description of the new core competitions:
- World Citizenship: Honors the software application developed on Microsoft platforms with the greatest potential to make a positive impact on humanity. For example, a project might address education-, social- or healthcare-related problems.
- Games: Honors the most engaging and entertaining games targeting teens and youth, built on Microsoft platforms (Windows 8, Windows Phone, Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit, and Xbox Indie Games).
- Innovation: Honors apps that give consumers inspiration and innovation at their fingertips, whether it be a new spin on social networks, online shopping or search, built with Microsoft tools and technology.
The winners of each of these competitions will get $50,000.
In addition to the core competitions, students can also compete in a number of online challenges focused on specific technologies and platforms, including Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone.