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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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College Students Design Stethoscope That Can Diagnose Pneumonia

The StethoCloud system can diagnose pneumonia with a stethoscope, a tiny custom mic, and a smartphone. It could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Every year 2.1 million children around the globe die from pneumonia—more than die from HIV, malaria, and measles combined—making it the number one killer of kids under the age of 5. Why so many deaths? Although pneumonia can be successfully treated with antibiotics, even experts sometimes have a difficult time diagnosing it. In the developing world, the infection is either not diagnosed or diagnosed too late for antibiotics to help. Those diagnosis challenges could disappear thanks to the StethoCloud, a custom built stethoscope and mobile phone app system that analyzes a person's breathing to determine if they have pneumonia.

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The 3D-Kindio: A New Aid to Help the Blind Get Around

An all-female Qatari team has used a Kinect sensor, 3D sound technology, and augmented reality software to build a clever new aid for the blind.

Most of us take our mobility for granted. But for the 285 million people around the globe with some form of visual impairment—39 million of whom have irreversible blindness—being able to navigate their homes, schools, and workplaces is a constant challenge. That could change, however, thanks to 3D-Kindio, a system that combines the cameras from the Xbox Kinect, 3D sound, and augmented reality software to help blind people identify direction, distance, and places.

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Irish Students Design Software to Make Drivers Safer

More than  3,000 people die every day because of traffic accidents, and that number is on the rise. The problem's so bad that the World Health...

More than 3,000 people die every day because of traffic accidents, and that number is on the rise. The problem's so bad that the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, car accidents will be the third leading cause of disease or injury. But what if computer software could help prevent many of them by evaluating a driver's behind-the-wheel behavior and educating her about it?

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College Students Create Device that Helps Legally Blind Students Take Notes

Assistive technology brings classroom notes back to low-vision and legally blind students.

Remember the days of sitting in class, copying down what your teacher scribbled on the board? Now imagine the frustration you'd feel if you couldn't see that board. That's the situation San Diego State University student Jeremy Poincenot found himself in almost three years ago after contracting an extremely rare disorder called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. As Poincenot shares in the above video, he'd lost his love for the college experience due to his inability to fully follow what was going on in class. That is, until he connected with Note-Taker, an assistive technology that helps "low-vision and legally blind students take notes in class as quickly and effectively as their fully-sighted peers."

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Can These Two College Students Solve the Carpooling Puzzle?

Two students from the University of Costa Rica want to reduce the number of wasteful solo car trips by making carpooling with strangers safe and easy.

Last December two computer science majors from the University of Costa Rica, 22-year-old Mario Alberto Barrantes Quesada and 23-year-old Wagner Alberto Alvarado Quesada, were stuck in a traffic jam. As they inched along in their car, they heard a radio program talking about the benefits of carpooling. The duo decided to put their tech skills to good use and designed Carpooling Mate Finder, a mobile phone app that will make it easier to find someone to ride with based on common routes and schedules. Their app won a finalist spot in Microsoft's Imagine Cup, the world's premier technology competition for socially conscious high school and college students happening next month in New York City. I caught up with Mario and Wagner via Skype.

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