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"FlashFood" App Wins US Finals in Imagine Cup for Students

Students from Arizona State University won top honors this spring at the Imagine Cup finals in the United States. Microsoft Corporation organizes the competition every year. The Imagine Cup asks students to use their imaginations and their love of technology to solve some of the world's biggest problems. More than one hundred thousand students in the United States alone registered for the event this year. Twenty-two teams were chosen to take part in the finals in Seattle, Washington.

Team FlashFood won first place in the Imagine Cup's Software Design competition.The team developed a computer software application and website to help speed food donations from restaurants, hotels and farmers markets to needy families. Eric Lehnhardt is the leader of Team FlashFood. He says food insecurity affects a lot of people, especially in large population centers. He notes that some people do not know where their next meal is coming from. His team's winning mobile application and website is designed for operators of restaurants. They can enter information about the food they would like to donate. Then volunteer drivers go to pick up the donations and take them to those in need.

Richard Filley is director of the Engineering Projects in Community Service program at Arizona State. Team FlashFood is one of the program's thirty-seven projects. Richard Filley says winning the Imagine Cup's Software design category is a major honor. But, he says, it is not what energizes his students. He says they want to change the world and make a difference.

Microsoft is celebrating the tenth year of the Imagine Cup. Mark Hindsbo is a vice president with the company. He says the competition has changed a lot since it first began. Years ago, it mainly involved computer science and almost all of the students had a computer science education. Mark Hindsbo says the students who compete now have different areas of expertise. For example, Team FlashFood had a student who studied biomedical engineering. Another student studied marketing and sustainability. Yet another studied material science and engineering.

For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal. You can find more stories about the Imagine Cup at (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 30Apr2012)