Cloud-based e-health and disability care apps dominated Microsoft's 10th global Imagine Cup developer competition.
The winning project, a Ukranian team dubbed the 'quadSquad' walked out of the competition with the crown on Tuesday for its 'Enable Talk' application, which allows people who cannot talk to verbally communicate through a pair of sensory gloves and a smartphone app on Windows Phone 7.
Second and third place in the competition were taken out by Team Coccolo from Japan, for its energy-conserving LED lamp solution, and Team wi-GO from Portugal, for its wheelchair-friendly wi-GO robotic shopping cart.
The Microsoft Imagine Cup is an annual technology competition that judges student projects from around the world. The projects fall into a number of categories with an emphasis on solving issues relating to health, disaster and hunger.
Australian finalists Team StethoCloud demonstrated a mobile stethoscope that allows for automatic diagnosis of pneumonia for both doctors and non-doctors using an algorithm and linked app on Windows Phone 7.
"We basically took a stethoscope head, ripped out the body and added a microphone inside," explained team member Hon Wen Chong.
The stethoscope, which connects through a smartphone's headphone jack, takes six five-second recordings over the patient's breathing and cross-checks the results with an algorithm hosted on Windows Azure.
"We run a diagnostic algorithm and once that's been completed we send the results, the diagnosis and treatment plan back to the user," Chong said.
"It's actually quite cheap. The whole thing only costs around 15 to 20 dollars to make."
The team is in the process of porting the application for use on Android.
Other cloud-centric projects that made it into the finals included the uCHAMPsys fitness application from Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, a sophisticated body sensor that interacts with a variety of web-based tools to assess a patient's personal health.
A team from the Kazakh-British Technical University of Kazakhstan developed an emergency drone UAV dubbed "Archangel" allowing for the delivery of first-aid kits, medicines or other necessities to people in inaccessible disaster zones.
The flying unit, which can be piloted through a cloud-based management system, also records and sends back a visual feed to emergency personnel in real-time, allowing them to properly assess inaccessible areas.
A Korean team from Sungkonghoe University presented a bee-farming solution called "Let IT Bee".