1st Place, Innovation: Team Colinked, United Kingdom
Team Colinked's soundSYNK app improves that moment when your friend insists that you have to hear this new song RIGHT NOW, and a large group of people crowds around a small smartphone to listen. One person with the app can "throw" the song to another, who then "catches" it, each with a small shake of the phone. The app then syncs up the song on both phones, so they play it in perfect unison. With enough phones, you can spread the song like a virus.
"Whenever you want to listen to music with your friends, it's all together, it's in the moment," says team member Jonathan Neumann Massey. So they created soundSYNK as an "impromptu social network," that you can use at the beach, on a train, or wherever. The app is operated on a Bluetooth mesh network, meaning you don't need to have Wi-Fi access to use it. Theoretically, the network could support up to 65,000 devices, though of course the team hasn't tested quite that many yet. In addition to the $50,000 Team Colinked received from winning the Imagine Cup, they've also snagged a £10,000 grant from Creative England and £8,000 from the University of Exeter, where they study.