AVIOS is having their second speech app building contest for student teams. “Cash and/or equipment prizes valued at over $1000 will be awarded to teams of student programmers who design and create applications judged by industry experts to be the most robust, useful, creative, innovative, and user friendly.” The finished application must be submitted by January 31, 2008.
Although the application must at least support speech input or output, students are encouraged to develop multi-modal apps. Many development environments are approved for use in building and running your application. If you are looking to get some long term useful experience out of this exercise, I strongly recommend that you build a VoiceXML app and host it one of the platforms like BeVocal, TellMe, etc. While working with a downloadable environment like Voxeo’s Prophecy would be highly educational, you’ll end up spending a lot of time dealing with stuff that the hosted platforms take care of for you. Even better would be to use a tool that dynamically generates VoiceXML, but there aren’t a lot of free tools available that do that.