Vodafone Americas Foundation Reports 2012 Wireless Innovation Project Winners
Apr 19, 2012 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) --
The Vodafone Americas Foundation and mHealth Alliance announced the 2012 winners of the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project and the mHealth Alliance Award, a competition designed to spark innovation and help solve pressing global issues.
According to a release, the winning projects include Wireless Bug Sensor, a wireless sensor that helps farmers spy on insects; OScan, an inexpensive tool for screening oral cancer; and InSight, a simple credit building tool for entrepreneurs in developing countries. Each of these projects leverage the ever-increasing accessibility to wireless technology to solve prevalent social problems. Collectively, the projects will be awarded $650,000 in cash and prizes to further develop their projects for implementation and adoption.
"It's incredibly energizing to be able recognize these innovative solutions for social good," said June Sugiyama, Director of Vodafone Americas Foundation. "This is our fourth year of this competition and we continue to identify unique and impactful solutions."
First Place, winner of $300,000 - Wireless Bug Sensor, University of California, Riverside
A largely unrecognized barrier that farmers face to crop production is insect infestation, which is particularly difficult for farmers in developing countries due to high costs and limited access to pesticides. The Wireless Bug-Sensor team at UC Riverside in collaboration with ISCA Technologies has created a technology that senses the location, type, and number of harmful insects in the field, alerting the farmer about the type of intervention needed with a once-a-day text message. Inspired by the lasers used in spy movies to listen in on conversations, this wireless technology drastically reduces the costs typically spent by farmers on untargeted, blanket pesticide spraying. Ultimately, this will increase profits for farmers as well as alleviate hunger worldwide.cs.ucr.edu/~eamonn/CE/iscatech.com/exec/wirelessbugsensor.htm
Second Place, winner of $200,000, and mHealth Alliance winner of $50,000 in strategic and networking support - OScan, Stanford University
Seventy percent of the world's tobacco consumption comes from developing countries and is sharply rising, leading to a large number of deadly diseases, including oral cancer. Early detection and treatment of these diseases can improve survival rates. The OScan team at Stanford University has developed a screening tool that brings standardized, multi-modal imaging of the oral cavity into the hands of rural health workers around the world, allowing individuals to screen for oral cancer. This inexpensive device mounts on a conventional camera phone and allows for data to be instantly transmitted to dentists and oral surgeons. OScan aims to provide a means to empower health workers to connect early stage patients to health care providers and teach communities about the importance of oral hygiene.stanford.edu/~manup/Oscan
Third Place, winner of $100,000 - InSight, InVenture
In many developing countries small business entrepreneurs are unable to grow their businesses and take advantage of financial services simply due to the fact that they are perceived to be risky. With InSight, an SMS-based money management tool, these entrepreneurs can track their finances in their native language, increasing their financial literacy and more efficiently running their businesses. More importantly, InSight serves as a global credit rating platform for small business owners. By creating access to credit reporting opportunities for these individuals, InSight will help to lower interest rates, mitigate risk, and increase profits. This is a vital tool that will lift entrepreneurs and other individuals in developing countries out of poverty.inventure.org/using/learn-about-insight
"The Vodafone Americas Foundation partnership with the mHealth Alliance is exceptionally powerful in that it allows us to propel ideas for wireless technology into action," said Patty Mechael, Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance. "The field of mHealth is constantly growing, and now more than ever it is essential for us to support innovations that will enable us to overcome development challenges and have a meaningful impact on people's lives. This kind of competition inspires entrepreneurs and innovators to explore unchartered territory, enabling the realization of visionary ideas that improve communities throughout the world."
Open to nonprofit organizations, universities, and NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) each year, the Wireless Innovation Project selects three winners and helps stimulate the projects through the next stages of development, such as prototyping and scaling. Since the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project was launched in 2009, nine winners have been awarded more than $1.8 million in cash and additional benefits. Vodafone provides invaluable support for the winning projects by integrating the teams with the foundation's network of social entrepreneurs, NGO's and international agencies.
Vodafone Americas Foundation is part of Vodafone's network of foundations.
The mHealth Alliance hosts Health Unbound, an online community. The Alliance is hosted by the United Nations Foundation, and founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, Vodafone Foundation, and UN Foundation, now also includes HP, the GSM Association, and Norad.
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