Microsoft announced the winners for its Imagine Cup Grants program for student technology and social entrepreneurs, including a Croatian group that developed a physical therapy solution using the Kinect motion sensing device.
The three-year, $3 million grant program looks to provide opportunities for young people by helping them "create a business or nonprofit to bring the benefits of their ideas to the world." Those ideas include projects that address issues like accessibility, health, and education.
Microsoft selected four student groups for the Imagine Cup Grants program's inaugural year, all of which were finalists at the annual Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals competition last year, where 50 participating teams "[used] technology to solve the world's toughest problems."
The Imagine Cup Grants award winners included Team Falcon
from Ecuador, Team OaSys
from Jordan, Team Lifelens
from the U.S., and Team Apptenders
from Croatia. (Links lead to videos demonstrating each of their projects.)
Team Apptenders developed KiDnect
, a program using Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing camera accessory to offer on-premise and remote physical therapy for children. The software monitors "a child's exercises to ensure they are being completed correctly, and then provides statistical analysis to the therapist"
Microsoft will give each of the Imagine Cup Grants winners $75,000, software, cloud computing services, solution provider support, premium Microsoft BizSpark account benefits, and access to local resources like its Microsoft Innovation Centers.
The company will also connect the winners to its network of investors, non-governmental organization partners, and business partners. Microsoft says it will tailor individual support for the teams depending on the progress each team has made so far with their projects.