embeddedSPARK 2011 Challenge Competition Heats Up a Cold Winter

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 3, 2011 — This past week marked the conclusion of first-round submissions for this winter’s embeddedSPARK 2011 Challenge. The theme for this year’s contest, “Experience Embedded,” challenges enthusiasts to create an embedded solution utilizing Windows Embedded Compact 7 that seamlessly connects with PCs, media, online content and data.

Aspiring developers and hobbyists from all over the world submitted their ideas for unique embedded devices to the Gallery on embeddedSPARK.com. The site also provides a Forum for entrants to discuss their ideas and review other submissions. In round one, contestants were called upon to submit a one- to three-page paper outlining how their embedded project approaches media in a new and innovative way.

On Feb. 6, Microsoft will announce the list of participants that will advance from the first round, which officially began on Sept. 21 at the Embedded Systems Conference 2010 in Boston. Round two, which comes to a close on May 1, will offer remaining participants an opportunity to put their embedded skills to use by building an actual prototype of their project (along with a four- to eight-page paper and three-minute video detailing the solution).

Through past embeddedSPARK Challenges, there have been several great embedded device ideas brought to light. In May of last year, winner Marco Bodoira, a native of Italy, won for his “Guitar Multi Effect” device, which enabled guitar players to try a multitude of pedal affects that allow for alternative sounds all within a single unit. The project blended Bodoira’s job as a software engineer with his love of music, and the embeddedSPARK Challenge let him bring his vision to realization.

Marco Bodoira (center) was awarded a $15,000 grand prize for his “Guitar Multi Effect” device.

One lucky winner for the biannual Microsoft-sponsored contest (summer and winter) will have the chance to take home a $15,000 grand prize, with second and third place winners awarded cash prizes of $5,000 and $1,000, respectively. On June 15, 2011, three contest finalists will present their products before a panel of judges at a major embedded event (to be determined) to decide who will take home the No. 1 prize.

Interested in learning more about the embeddedSPARK Challenge so you can bring your own unique vision to life? Make sure to check out the official page for details, and while you’re there, take a peek at the Gallery Page to find out which ideas are creating the most buzz!

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