Microsoft gathered 120 teams of students from 61 countries in Paris, France this week for the finals of their Imagine Cup, which urged students to use Microsoft technology to come up with environmental solutions.
The Australian Smart Operational Agriculture Toolkit (SOAK) took the top prize in software design. SOAK is a prototype network of solar-powered sensors designed to control water use on a farm by monitoring and regulating soil moisture levels based on temperature readings, including visualization on Virtual Earth.
Such monitoring systems already exist in the marketplace, but are cost prohibitive for most farmers. The team emphasized a dramatic cost reduction for the sensors, and Hewlett-Packard has expressed interest in helping to manufacture and market the system.
Winners were also announced in other categories, with a Singapore team taking the prize for Embedded Development, a Brazil team won for Game Development, a Russian team won the Programming Battle, and a team from the United States won for Interface Design
Read about the winning projects and other category winners here. The 2009 Imagine Cup is already accepting applications, and is set to culminate in Egypt next year.