Microsoft has launched its Dare to Dream Different challenge, a competition for software developers to design and build innovative devices on the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework. Developers are invited to submit an entry online via the .NET Micro Framework. Submissions must describe their dream device, and explain how they would bring it to life with the .NET Micro Framework platform. Initial entries will be accepted through Dec. 15, 2008. The contest consists of two categories -- Hobbyist and Professional -- and the top 50 semifinalists in each category will receive a .NET Micro Framework developer kit, which will include the software and hardware needed to build and submit a working prototype of their dream device.
- Professional Developer Category: Start a Business as a Microsoft Partner. The Grand Prize, First Prize and Second Prize Winners in the Professional Category will receive guidance and tools to help start their own business as a .NET Micro Framework Microsoft Partner. Total prizes in this category have an approximate retail value of more than $73,000 and include cash, free business and development software, consulting time with Microsoft experts, and promotional opportunities.
- Hobbyist Developer Category: Spread the word about your cool creation. Total prizes in this category have an approximate retail value of $23,500 and include cash, an Xbox 360 console, Zune digital media player (subject to availability) and promotional products. The winners in this category also will receive the opportunity to include their winning solution in a Microsoft marketing campaign.
Semifinalists will be required to submit a video demonstration of their prototype, and the top five finalists in each category will make presentations on their prototype before a panel of industry experts. Of those finalists, three winners in each category will be announced in May 2009.
"If you can build something as simple as a device to reliably ensure that someone is taking their medications accurately, you can change the lives of millions of people and help them live independently longer," said Microsoft's Colin Miller. "That is one example of the power of devices. The .NET Micro Framework enables a wide range of incredible devices that not only further technology, but offer professional and hobbyist developers greater opportunities to follow their passions and do incredible things. By bringing the familiar Microsoft Visual Studio environment to the embedded world, the .NET Micro Framework makes embedded programming really easy for desktop developers and hobbyists. We expect this contest to generate a lot of interest and momentum for embedded systems in general."