Building an app these days has traditionally had a common goal, attract users, monetize and then retire on the beach at the prime age of 23. But what if you changed the goal from striking it rich to enriching the lives of those around you? That’s exactly what Imagine cup does and we are starting to see the fruits of the 2014 competition.
The competition is in full swing, but there is still plenty of time to participate. To help get the ball rolling this year, Microsoft has announced the grant winners, with the top prize going to a team from Taiwan who has built an app that turns any Windows Phone device into a hearing aid.
The app is a simple solution to a problem for those who have limited hearing. After installing app, it walks you through a tutorial that helps identify the frequencies that you cannot hear and can then adjust the frequencies in this identified region to allow you to hear them.
The product works with any existing set of headphones or even Bluetooth headsets. Further, the app can filter out ambient background noise to help increase the signal to further improve the hearing capabilities of application. The service also offers an online hearing center where you can take further assessments, find a personal audiologist and gain access to expert advice.
Hearing aids can be quite expensive, and this solution offers a low-cost way to utilize a Windows Phone to replace the hearing aid. Considering that Windows Phone can be obtained for as little as $49, it makes for a cheap solution.
The app and ongoing service is not free, however, costing cost $10 a month to help support the team in providing this ongoing service. Free would be great, but to support the hearing services and the cloud applications to help identify which frequencies you cannot hear, a nominal fee must be charged. The app is not currently in the Windows Phone Store but should be arriving soon, according to the team's website.
Call it what you want, but Imagine Cup has helped this team take an idea, build a viable product, develop a business plan and execute its strategy. For those efforts, the team has received a $100,000 grant from Microsoft. Not bad.