Over 400 college students from around the world gathered this week in New York City for the 2011 Finals of the Imagine Cup. Microsoft's student technology competition. On stage this evening, the awards were handed out to the winning teams in a variety of categories. You can read the full list of winners below.

The participating students aren't simply showcasing their technology skills. They're applying those skills to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems: child mortality, disease, hunger, poverty, pollution. Listening to these students' presentations, I was struck by what was often a personal motivation for solving these issues and their passion, again not just for the tech, but for making the world a better place.

I wrote about a few of my favorites yesterday.

In addition to announcing the winners, Microsoft also unveiled a new $3 million ImagineCup grant program to help these students take their ideas and prototypes and turn them into real world solutions.

Software Design
1. Team Hermes (Ireland): Team Hermes' project combines embedded technology, mobile devices and cloud computing to monitor and change driving habits and reduce road deaths.
2. Team Note-Taker (United States)
3. Team Oasys (Jordan)

People's Choice
Team Rapture (Bangladesh): Team Rapture created Third Eye, a Windows Phone 7 device for the visually impaired that provides an assistive camera and a special user interface with vibration, speech feedback and voice command.

Embedded Development
1. Team Nthucs (Taiwan): Team Nthucs' project is called RIGHT!! This Way, and it computes the safest fire escape routes, detected by a wireless sensor network in real time.
2. Team Harmonicare (China)
3. Team Endeavor_Design (Romania)

Game Design: Web
1. Team Cellardoor (Poland)
2. Team Signum Fidei (Philippines)
3. Team Quegee (Slovakia)

Game Design: Mobile
1. Team Geekologic (France)
2. Team Close World (France)
3. Team Dragon (United States)

Game Design: Xbox
1. Team Signum Games (Brazil)
2. Team JubJub (Thailand)
3. Team WickedTeam (Czech Republic)

All three of the first place winners in the Game Design category built games to help raise environmental awareness.

Photo credits: The Imagine Cup Flickr account. Disclosure: Microsoft paid for my travel to the event.