Microsoft Announces embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge Winner

San Jose, Calif. — May 7, 2010 — At the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Silicon Valley 2010, Microsoft announced Marco Bodoira as the winner of the embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge, awarding him with $15,000 for his “Guitar Multi Effect” submission.

Bodoira, who traveled to San Jose all the way from Italy, said he developed “Guitar Multi Effect” because it blended his job as a software engineer with his love of music — he’s been playing guitar since he was 14 years old.

This year’s contest for hobbyists and academics was originally announced in September 2009 and rewards those with a passion for building devices on the Windows Embedded CE platform by providing a forum for enthusiasts to showcase their development skills.

(from left to right) George Mallard, Marco Bodoira (grand prize winner), and Wally Nehls celebrate their projects for the embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge.

The theme for this year’s contest, “Fun and Games,” encouraged participants to develop fresh ideas for projects with Windows Embedded CE that are unique and innoative. This included games, home entertainment and other embedded devices that turn heads and users can’t wait to get their hands on.

After three rounds of competition, the three finalists received an all-inclusive trip to ESC Silicon Valley and the chance to compete for the $15,000 grand prize and additional cash prizes. In addition to Bodoira, the finalists were these:

Second place was just too close to call for the judges, so both Mallard and Nehls won $5,000 for their projects.

Texas-native Mallard said his rowing performance project was a great learning experience not only about Windows Embedded CE but also Silverlight, which he is “totally sold on now.”

Nehls meanwhile turned a lot of heads at ESC Silicon Valley with his project Uber Tag — an advanced form of laser tag, which includes a realistic toy gun. According to Nehls, the biggest challenge he overcame was taking in all the gun’s different inputs, from the sensor to the GPS and touchscreen, and getting them to work as one cohesive project.

During Windows Embedded General Manager Kevin Dallas’ keynote at ESC Silicon Valley, each of the finalists came up on stage to show off their submission. Check out the that footage, as well as an interview with Bodoira.

embeddedSPARK is a partnership between Microsoft and select hardware vendors to bring a complete package offering of hardware and software to hobbyist developers and academics. Currently, under its MSDN Academic Alliance Program, Microsoft provides software for students and faculty in the technology and design fields.

Interested in becoming the next winner? Participate in the embeddedSPARK 2010 SUMMER Challenge by submitting an embedded project showcasing “Media Explosion” by approaching media in a new and innovative way. The deadline for entering is June 8, 2010, at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (GMT -8).

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