The 2010 Windows Phone 7 Rockstars

Beastware-01Earlier this year the Windows Phone team along with the Imagine Cup announced the Windows Phone 7 Rockstar award for this year’s Imagine Cup competition. Participants were given one month to design a Windows Phone 7 application either in Silverlight or using the XNA Game Studio.

I’m very excited to be able to announce that the first ever Windows Phone 7 Rockstars hail from my home country, the United States. Eric Lo and Christian Hood, from the Advanced Techology Academy, a public magnet high school in Las Vegas, Nevada, have won the 2010 Imagine Cup Windows Phone 7 Rockstar award.

Their project, Droid Assault, is a two-dimensional Windows Phone 7 game written in XNA using C#, that involves a player controlling a machine that destroys other machines using the accelerometer functionality in Windows Phone 7.

Team Beastware plans to publish their game on the Windows Phone Marketplace in time for the launch of Windows Phone 7 devices. I highly encourage everyone to check out their game, and to give them a huge congratulations in their accomplishments.

You can find Team Beastware on the web at

Microsoft to give BizSpark to all Imagine Cup Finalists for free!

imageTonight at the finalist presentations at the Warsaw Opera House, Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, announced that all of the Imagine Cup 2010 Finalists would receive membership in Microsoft’s BizSpark program for free.

The Microsoft BizSpark program provides members with access to the latest software development tools and platforms, connects members to investors, government agencies, and consultants worldwide. Members are also provided with support from a technical, sales, and marketing perspective. For more information about BizSpark, visit

Through the Imagine Cup and the BizSpark programs these students are well prepared to take their games, embedded devices, Windows Phone 7 applications, and other applications to market, and to have the tools and knowledge required to build a successful business to promote and sell their software.

Congratulations to all Imagine Cup finalists and I look forward to seeing your businesses grow!

Imagine Cup 2010: Game Design Finalist Presentations

As I write this post, I’m sitting in the audience for the Game Design Finalist presentations. I must say that there have been some really awesome games presented. I give my congratulations to all the teams that are here in the final round.

All of the finalists here are presenting their games to 5 judges and an audience of a few hundred people, and they are holding up under all the pressure. These teams are truly showing their expertise in software development as well as their passion for helping the world in meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

The finalists are Team NomNom Productions from Belgium, Team By Implication from the Philippines, and Team Gears Studio from France. I’ve included trailers of their games below, and I’ll post the announcement of the winner tomorrow night. I’m also working on finding out from the teams if their games will be available for download and / or purchase.

Team By Implication

Introducing Team USA

Here at the Imagine Cup the United States is represented in the Software Design, Embedded Design, Touch and Tablet Accessibility, and Windows Phone 7 “Rockstar” competition categories. Here is a short description of each team and their project.

Software Design

Team Name: Team Mobilife

Team Members: Kayvon Ghaffari, Wilson To, Helena Xu

Project Description: Mobilife introduces innovative application technologies into the market of mobile medicine by pairing the Windows Mobile platform with computer-assisted intravital microscopy to provide on-field analysis of the human microcirculation to detect developing microangiopathy in children.

Embedded Design

Team Name: Team Vaccine

Team Members: Patricia Day, Shawn McGhee

Project Description: Project Vaccine Tracker helps children around the world. There is a potential to save tens of thousands (or more) children from preventable diseases by providing a solution to the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, Kenya Partnership and others to effectively record and track immunizations in remote regions of less developed and developing countries.

Touch and Tablet Accessibility

Team Name: OneView

Team Members: Shaun Kane, Kristen Shinohara

Project Description: OneView is a Tablet PC application that enables blind and sighted students to collaboratively solve problems. It combines a sketching interface with a synchronized audio-based interface to enable students with different abilities to work together effectively.

Team Name: Team Note-Taker

Team Members: David Hayden, Andrew Kelley

Project Description: The Note-Taker Project solves issues that students with visual impairment have by combining a custom-designed pan, tilt and zoom camera, and a Tablet PC that supports both pen and multitouch input. Users simultaneously view live video and take notes on a split-screen interface.

Windows Phone 7 “Rockstar”

Team Name: Beastware

Team Members: Christian Hood, Eric Lo

Project Description: Beastware is a 2-D game that involves the player controlling a machine that destroys other machines by using an accelerometer. The objective of the game is to destroy as many enemies as possible before your health runs out. Players have three actions they can perform: shoot, repair and defend. The shoot action fires bullets in the direction of the machine. The repair action restores a small amount of health instantly. The defend action reduces the amount of damage taken for a short period of time.

Imagine Cup 2010 World Finals have begun

clip_image002Last night marked the opening of the 2010 Imagine Cup World Finals at the Palace of Culture in downtown Warsaw.

400 students, plus mentors, judges, press, and Microsoft employees gathered at the Palace of Culture to celebrate the beginning on the world finals. Attendees were greeted by Jacek Murawski, General Manager for Microsoft Poland, who talked about the change of the world that students competing are contributing to. Murawski told the story of his family and talked about his two young children, saying that he was counting on the students here today to change the world for the better for his children.

Murawski then introduced Waldemar Pawlak, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland who thanked the students for coming to Warsaw, discussed the fact that Poland is the only nation in the European Union with a growing economy, and encouraged the students to talk to one another, to learn from one another, and to explore the culture here in Poland. Pawlak then ended his speech by congratulating the students and thanking Microsoft for its support of students.

Jon Perera, General Manager for Microsoft’s worldwide education efforts then addressed the students. He talked to them about their efforts so far, he congratulated them on coming this far, and he talked about the Imagine Cup as whole. Perera announced that 325,000 students from more than 100 countries competed in this year’s Imagine Cup. Perera said today’s students have access to technologies that didn’t exist just a few years ago. He talked about technologies like Windows Azure, Windows Phone 7, and Silverlight. As the competition begins, Perera encouraged students to take 20 minutes and either by themselves or with their teams, go off somewhere away from the noise and reflect on their journey, to take it all in, and to have a moment to themselves.

Perera was then joined on stage by Murawski and Deputy Prime Minister Pawlak for the ribbon cutting with marked the official opening of the 2010 Imagine Cup World Finals. After the ribbon cutting, students were then treated to a concert by local band Zakopower.

Today students will begin competing and tonight an announcement will be made for the teams that are advancing to the second round.

I’m leavin’ on a Jet Plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…

I’m at the airport here in Phoenix waiting for my first flight into Chicago, then it will be on into Warsaw from there.

The 2010 International Microsoft Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals start tomorrow evening at 6pm, Warsaw time. I’ll be joining the delegation from the United States, and will focus primarily on competitions that teams from the US are in.

I’m really excited as one of the teams competing this year is a team from Arizona State University (Go Devils!), so expect a little bit of bias. Winking smile (Just kidding!)

I plan on taking tons of photos, and hopefully uploading them daily. They’ll be uploaded to my Picasa Web Album, which is accessible at the following link,

Teams competing in the Imagine Cup finals from the United States are:

Software DesignTeam Mobilife
     -Wilson To – University of California – Davis
     -Jason Wakizaka – University of California – Davis
     -Helena Xu – University of California – Los Angeles
     -Kayvon Ghaffari – University of California – San Diego

Embedded DesignTeam Vaccine
     -Shawn McGhee  – University of Arkansas – Little Rock
     -Trish Day  – University of Arkansas – Little Rock

Touch & Tablet AccessibilityOneView
     -Kristen Shinohara  – University of Washington
     -Shaun Kane  – University of Washington

Touch and Tablet AccessibilityTeam Note-Taker
Andrew Kelley – Arizona State University
     -David Hayden – Arizona State University

Windows Mobile 7 RockstarBeastware
     -Christian Hood – Advanced Technology Academy
     -Eric Lo – Advanced Technology Academy

I’ll be updating next from Warsaw!

Getting Ready for Warsaw

Next week in Warsaw, Poland, Microsoft is holding the 2010 international Imagine Cup World Finals. I’ve been invited to attend and write about the competition as a member of the Microsoft Student Insiders program. (Full disclosure: Microsoft’s PR firm, Waggener-Edstrom, is covering the expenses associated with this trip.)

The Imagine Cup is a competition in which students create software that can be used to potentially change the world for the better. Each year the competition is held there is a theme, and this year’s theme is Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.”

Based on this theme, Microsoft has chosen the United Nations Eight Millennium Development Goals as the set of tough problems that students have the opportunity to help solve. For a list of the goals, visit the Imagine Cup website.

Students compete in one of five categories. Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Design, Digital Media, and the IT Challenge. The top finalists in these categories will be in Poland next week competing for the top prizes in each of their competitions.

I’ll be there along with the finalists reporting on the competitions and taking in the sights and sounds of Poland. Follow along here on the blog, on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #ImagineCup or myself @tziegmann.