Origo, the social entrepreneurship consultants and institutional partner of NNC, co-sponsored a private reception for the winners of the 2007 Tech Awards. Each year The Tech Museum in San Jose honors 25 Laureates worldwide for their innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. These Laureates are acknowledged for their brilliant accomplishments in addressing some of the most critical issues facing our planet in the areas of Environment, Health, Education, Economic Development and Equality. It was a real privilege to meet the innovators themselves–including Matt Flannery of Kiva (“Loans that Change Lives”) and Nick Yeo of TakingITGlobal–and to consider ways we might be able to collaborate to help further their missions. It was also great to meet other guests and run into friends like Robert Schingler from NASA Ames who we consulted with on our ISDE5 Digital Earth project in June, and who, as someone involved with NASA’s Colab, we look forward to engaging with as a partner in our “collaboratory of collaboratories.” (That’s more of a mouthful than “network of networks.”)
Here’s a summary of the winners in the individual categories, and a short description of their philanthropic or social/environmental enterprise. The Tech Museum website offered a link to the awards ceremony which was being streamed last night. PLEASE VISIT THEIR WEBSITES; they’re fascinating and beautiful. (Speaking of fascinating and beautiful, at The Tech right now are 2 amazing features: the BodyWorlds2 exhibit and the IMAX movie, “Human Body,” also well worth checking out.)
2007 Intel Environment Award
• Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI) Team, Jacqueline W. Quinn, Cherie L. Geiger, Christian Clausen III, Kathleen B. Brooks, and Debra R. Reinhart: EZVI was created by placing zero-valent-iron particles into a stabilized, biodegradable water-oil emulsion to reduce environmental contamination risks when cleaning rockets in NASA’s space program.
• Fundacion Terram: The Integrated Salmon-Seaweed Cultivation project attaches algae to a salmon-net pen to absorb nutrients from the salmon to clean the environment. This technology reduces the demand for natural seaweed using an environmentally and socially integrated approach.
• Marc André Ledoux, Consortium SudEco Industrie: Ledoux combined two technologies to transform harmful aquatic plants into new cooking fuel. A floating grappling is used for fast and easy removal of the plants, which are then compressed, dried and turned into pellets for cooking fuel.
• Joe David Jones, Skyonic Corporation: Skyonic Corporation addresses the significant issue of greenhouse gas emissions through the mineralization of CO2 as carbonate compounds. It removes heavy metals and acid gases to address both the current problem with carbon capture and the future as demand increases.
• Solar Sailor: Solar Sailor created solar sail and hybrid marine power which is suitable for a wide range of applications from small unmanned vessels to large tankers including ferries, cruisers and yachts. Vessels using this technology have higher fuel savings, unlimited range, passenger comfort and are environmentally friendly with zero emissions.
2007 Accenture Economic Development Award
• Anil Chitrakar, Babu Raja Shrestha and Prachet Kumar Shrestha, Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness: Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness and Centre for Renewable Energy turned Nepal’s 300 annual days of sun into a safer light source and an economic opportunity by developing a solar-powered Tuki—originally a kerosene lamp that is both costly and emits toxic fumes—and by offering microfinancing and training for people to make, sell, and service the lamps.
• Association La Voute Nubienne: In sub-Saharan Africa, the Association La Voute Nubienne promotes the construction of vaulted, earth brick houses which are environmentally friendly, affordable and comfortable using the Voute Nubienne (VN) technique. The VN technique is a simplified, standardized adaptation of traditional construction methods from Egypt’s Nubian region and is relatively unknown in the Sahel and West Africa.
• blueEnergy: BlueEnergy provides a low-cost, sustainable solution to the energy needs of marginalized communities through the creation of hybrid wind and solar energy systems. By manufacturing wind turbines locally, energy costs are kept low, servicing is made easier and jobs are created in disparaged communities.
• CellBazaar, Inc.: Kamal Quadir founded CellBazaar, which provides an electronic marketplace that can be accessed through mobile phones. Product sellers can list their items on CellBazaar where they are visible to 15 million rural and urban mobile phone users in Bangladesh.
• Kiva: Kiva allows users to browse through profiles of qualified entrepreneurs on the Kiva website and make a small loan of $25 or more. Kiva pools money from individual users and transfers it to a finance corporation that will administer the loan. Journal updates allow lenders to see how their money makes a difference in the lives of the entrepreneur.
2007 Microsoft Education Award
• Canal Futura: Canal Futura uses television communication to achieve sustainability by providing free information, education and entertainment representing a country’s diverse culture. It is watched 24 hours a day by 33 million people and has trained 420,000 educators from social institutions and public schools.
• Elluminate, Inc.: Fire and Ice/Elluminate Live! is a real-time virtual classroom software product used for highly interactive live online classes, lectures, demonstrations and meetings. This product helps organizations increase student understanding, productivity and access to instructors. Whether on dial-up or broadband, Elluminate Live! offers equal, collaborative experiences amongst different cultures.
• Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education: OER Commons is a teaching and learning network whose purpose is to expand educational opportunities for all by increasing access to high-quality open educational resources. It is the first comprehensive network where teachers and students can access course materials and share their own ideas and strategies.
• Robert Shelton, Stephanie Smith, and Terry Hodgson, NASA Johnson Space Center Learning Technologies Team: MathTrax is an accessible education software tool to help blind and sighted students learn and understand math and science. It describes information in three ways – using “smart” text, non-verbal sound and custom graphics descriptions.
• TakingITGlobal: TakingITGlobal.org, is a free multilingual online platform that employs Web 2.0 community tools supporting youth creating change in their communities and around the world. Online community users can create their own blogs and engage in discussions, access opportunities and launch their own multimedia expressions.
2007 SanDisk Equality Award
• Counterpart International: Counterpart Data Warehouse, is a tool created in response to deadly crises such as the Asian Tsunami that will increase the effectiveness and transparency of international aid. It allows users to address humanitarian needs by designing projects, acquiring donated items, managing their shipment and following up with recipients.
• Devendra Raj Mehta, Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti: Mehta helped create the Jaipur Foot/Limb, a simple and extremely efficient prosthesis that utilizes innovative technology and materials. The Jaipur Foot/Limb allows normal walking, running, sitting, climbing and other daily activities. Since 1975, nearly 1 million people worldwide have been fitted for the Jaipur limb.
• Grameen Shakti (GS): Dipal Chandra Barua has developed an integrated approach to renewable energy technologies designed to reach rural people in Bangladesh through the installation of Solar Home Systems (SHSs), which are stand alone systems suitable for providing renewable energy to remote areas outside the reach of grid electricity. GS is also helping to promote biogas technology and Improved Cook Stoves in the communities it serves.
• Innocence Project: Innocence Project provides direct representation and critical assistance to prisoners that may be exonerated by DNA testing. Their ground-breaking use of DNA technology has been used to free innocent people wrongfully convicted due to systematic defects.
• Tropical Forest Trust: Indigenous Peoples Voice Programme developed computer mapping tools incorporating iconic software and automated GPS recording processes for use by illiterate indigenous communities. This technology supports forestry operations that identify and respect local religious, cultural and resource sites.
2007 The Swanson Foundation Health Award
• Diagnostics Development Unit, University of Cambridge & Diagnostics for the Real World: Uses Signal Amplification System (SAS) technology as a diagnostic format to greatly increase the sensitivity of lateral-flow based rapid tests. This technology has already translated into three new diagnostic tests for the detection of Chlamydia, trachoma and hepatitis B.
• Donald O’Neal, HELPS International: Guatemala Cookstove Project addresses the respiratory deaths of 1.6 million women and children each year by reducing the amount of required firewood by 60-70 percent. It was designed and verified using computer technology to monitor carbon monoxide and emission of carbon particles.
• PATH: Applied indicator technology for the Vaccine Vial Monitor which is a small chemically active sticker that adheres to the vaccine vial and changes color over time as the vaccine is exposed to heat. The Vaccine Vial Monitors allow health workers to recognize and replace expired vials that would not save lives or reduce illness.
• P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program: PUR Purifier of Water is an in-home system delivered to families in developing countries. The system provides precipitation, coagulation, flocculation and residual chlorination for 10 liters of water.
• Vaxin Inc.: Vaxin, Inc. is developing a rapid-response bird flu vaccine that can be manufactured without the requirement of chicken eggs. Side effects and other problems associated with the current bird flu vaccine will be reduced or eliminated when this current version is released on the market