BOSTON — During an industry address yesterday at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Boston, Microsoft Corp. launched the , a new competition designed to foster creativity and innovation among the embedded hobbyist and academic communities globally. Based on the successful Sparks will Fly competition, the embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge encourages contestants to demonstrate innovative thinking within the theme of “Fun and Games.” The program rewards those who are pioneering the next generation of specialized devices, letting them use the embeddedSPARK Challenge as a forum to showcase their skills on the Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 platform.
“Windows Embedded is excited to emphasize our commitment to the embedded market by introducing the embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge and rewarding the innovation of the global academic, hobbyist and developer communities,” said Scott Davis, senior marketing manager for Windows Embedded at Microsoft. “Windows Embedded is committed to driving the specialized devices of the future, and the embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge provides an excellent opportunity for embedded developers to showcase their skills. We are enthusiastic to see the innovation that will result from this contest.”
How the Contest Works
The embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge is a three-round competition offering more than $20,000 (U.S.) in prizes. The contest officially began yesterday, Sept. 22, 2009, and will culminate in spring 2010 at ESC Silicon Valley (April 26–29), where the three finalists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to present their devices onstage during Microsoft’s industry address. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to vote for the winner and award the three finalists $15,000, $5,000 and $1,000 respectively in prize money.
In Round 1, contestants will submit a one- to three-page entry at http://www.embeddedspark.com  that details their original idea for the “Fun and Games” theme, which includes games, home entertainment and other fresh ideas for specialized devices that grab attention and bring smiles to the faces of users. The first round will close on Jan. 9, 2010, and the 75 contestants selected for Round 2 will be announced on Jan. 15. All Round 2 participants will receive a target development board, Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 and Visual Studio Professional Edition 2005 at no cost to help them develop their devices. Round 2 will close on April 2, and the three finalists will be announced on April 9.
The embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge is open to people in all countries eligible to participate according to U.S. laws. The contest is open from noon EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009, to 8 p.m. EDT on April 2, 2010. More details and full official rules can be found by visiting http://www.sparkcontest.com/Default.aspx .