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Winners of the ninth annual Microsoft Imagine Cup were announced last Wednesday night at the Imagine Cup World Festival and Awards Ceremony at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York. Ireland’s team Hermes took home top honors in the Software Design competition. The team designed a device that plugs into a car and monitors dangerous driving behavior and road conditions, providing instant feedback to both the driver and the car owner. The team’s solution uses embedded technology, Windows Phone 7, Bing Maps and Windows Azure to change driving habits and reduce road deaths, which impact a significant number of young lives each year. With its victory, the team won $25,000.

“Thank you, Imagine Cup, for the opportunity to develop a solution to address this global, serious problem of road traffic accidents,” said team member Aine Conaghan as the team collected the Imagine Cup trophy. “Initially, we were inspired due to the fact of this problem in Ireland. The more research we carried out, we realized ‘yeah, we’re going to make an impact globally.”

Looking ahead, Team Hermes wants to get its project out into the world to make an impact on roads worldwide. “We want to develop a sustainable project that not only saves lives but generates enough income to bring the product forward and establish a mass user group and a mass community, because the more users we have, the more lives we can save,” said team member James McNamara.

The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition, honoring student innovations that address global problems such as improving road and fire safety, eradicating poverty, and creating a more sustainable environment. The awards ceremony event capped a six-day celebration of technology that featured more than 400 students from 70 countries with teams from Ireland, Taiwan, France, Poland, Brazil, Greece, Korea, Denmark, and Romania taking home the nine top awards.

Microsoft also announced a $3 million grant program to help Imagine Cup participants solve the world’s toughest challenges. Imagine Cup finalists will be eligible to apply for grants that include a combination of cash, software, training, consulting, and other support.

See the list of Imagine Cup winners.  Visit the Imagine Cup Virtual Pressroom.

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