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Psst, Student Innovators: The World's Biggest Tech Competition Wants You

Got an idea for a world-saving app? This year the Imagine Cup has new categories and twice as much prize money.

Student innovators, start your engines. Registration's now open for Microsoft's annual Imagine Cup, the world's biggest technology competition for students. Entering its 11th year, the competition invites high school and college students to use their tech skills to solve the world's biggest problems. Student teams from around the globe have created everything from a smartphone app that diagnoses malaria to an app that reduces food waste by connecting leftover meals from restaurants with homeless shelters.

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At the Imagine Cup: Tech Students Tackle World's Toughest Problems

Students teams from 75 countries hope their tech-based solutions will make a difference.



Where’s the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs going to come from? The game-changing tech entrepreneurs of the future could be one of the science, technology, engineering, and math students in Sydney this week for Microsoft’s 10th Imagine Cup, an annual global competition that challenges students to come up with innovative solutions for the world's toughest problems.

Each student project uses technology to address issues included in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals—improving education, ensuring environmental sustainability, and fighting diseases. Since it’s a Microsoft competition, the projects use their technology—like the Kinect for Xbox 360 or Windows 8. This year more than 350 students from 106 teams representing 75 countries—every continent except Antarctica is represented—are competing for $175,000 in prizes and the advice and support they need to make their prototype a reality.

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The Next Generation of Tech Geniuses Are Solving the World's Biggest Problems

Check out the five most exciting teams competing in this year's Imagine Cup.

We hear lots of talk about how students need to be highly educated so that they're prepared for the tech workforce of the future. While that's certainly true, figuring out how to use what you're learning to solve the world’s toughest problems is just as important. To that end, Microsoft has, for the past 10 years, backed socially responsible innovation through the Imagine Cup, an annual student competition that encourages the next generation of tech developers to create software that addresses global problems like education, poverty, healthcare access, and environmental sustainability.

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Dubai Student Designs Mobile Prenatal Care Device

This 20-year-old Dubai student's new mobile device could make childbirth much safer in developing countries.

It’s not hard to guess from his technology competition name—The Hex Pistols—that 20-year-old Shawn Frank is a fan of music. He's also a strong advocate of ensuring that women in developing nations have access to quality prenatal care. Six months ago, while walking to an internship, Frank came up with the idea for momEcare, a mobile device that helps provide medical assistance to pregnant women who can't get to a hospital. Now Frank, who just graduated from the computer science program at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, is headed to Microsoft's Imagine Cup, a technology competition for socially conscious high school and college students happening next week in New York City (we've covered the other young finalists here, here and here). I caught up with him to find out what first sparked his interest in technology and learn more about how momEcare works.

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