The US finals of Microsoft's Imagine Cup, an annual competition that encourages students to tackle big problems with technology, were held yesterday. One winning solution: combining cameraphones and powerful software to detect diseases in developing areas of the world.
That's the idea behind Mobilife Biotech, a team from California that won the software design category and who will go on to represent the US at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Poland this winter. They developed Windows Mobile software that will allow doctors to diagnose diseases like diabetes, hypertension and sickle cell anaemia in low-infrastructure areas simply by analysing a non-invasive cameraphone clip. An overview video of their incredible project is up on their Facebook page.
LifeCode, a similar project, aims to actually put biosensors on doctors' mobile phones, allowing them to take vital readings on the spot and send them to a secure database in the cloud for later review. The team, hailing from Wayne State University, hopes to have some small-scale deployments in Detroit by the end of the winter. The top photograph shows a member of the team showing a LifeCode phone to James Cameron, who was on hand yesterday to check out the projects.
These are just two of the brilliant ideas that were presented yesterday at the finals, where 80 students competed for the top spots out of 22,000 who entered altogether. Technology is increasingly a part of everyday life for young people, but only a special few are already thinking about how today's technologies can improve the world tomorrow. More information on the teams and how to enter next year's competition can be found out at the Microsoft Imagine Cup site.