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The Next Generation of Tech Geniuses Are Solving the World's Biggest Problems
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.
We talked to several of the finalists—and the competition's overall winner—last year to find out more about their projects and hear what they thought could get more students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. This year's crop—106 teams of high school and college students from 75 countries—also has its standouts:
1. Technology Lanterns: This all-female team for Qatar University in Qatar wants to make it easier for blind people to get around. They’ve developed a platform that uses a Kinect camera sensor, 3D sound, and augmented reality software to help blind people identify direction, distance, and places.
2. Stechocloud: Pneumonia is a top killer of children around the globe, but with early detection, countless lives could be saved. To that end, this team from the University of Melbourne in Australia has created a cloud-powered, mobile-hybrid stethoscope that can help.
3. Flashfood: According to the USDA, one in four children doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from. In order to more quickly assist low-income families, this team from Arizona State University has created a smartphone app that helps coordinate food donation deliveries.
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