REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 8, 2014) - The Vodafone Americas Foundation today announced that finalists have been selected for its sixth annual Wireless Innovation Project Competition™ (WIP). Since its inception in 2009, WIP has provided funding for a range of outstanding mobile and wireless technology innovations, awarding more than $2 million to universities, not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations. WIP offers applicants the opportunity to win a total prize fund of $600,000 for innovative mobile solutions that have potential to solve critical global issues. All finalists were recognized at a reception held in Redwood City on Tuesday, April 1.
The 2014 finalists are:
- Cellular System for Emergency and Disaster Relief -- Washington University at St. Louis. Tsunami, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters can quickly compromise ground-based communication infrastructure making it difficult for victims to contact safety personnel and for safety personnel to provide warnings. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can be used to provide cellular access such that users with standard mobile phones will be able to communicate.
- eyeMITRA -- from the MIT Media Lab is an innovative mobile phone attachment geared to at-home imaging of the retina, the nervous tissue in the back of the eye. This system seeks to not only provide a real-time health status assessment, but also contribute to the field of predictive analytics in healthcare.
- FogFinder -- Faculty of engineering researchers at MIT, Universidad de los Andes, and Universidad Católica de Chile have created a new probe using wireless communication technology to produce a liquid water flux map for an arid region of Chile. Combined with existing elevation, vegetation, orientation and slope maps, optimum locations for fog collectors can be identified, generating new, renewable sources of water for communities and reforestation in arid coastal regions around the world.
- MIMOSA Emergency Response -- from Direct Relief in a partnership with Palantir Technologies establishes an integrated satellite, cellular, and web-based network for communicating and coordinating health and disaster response needs anywhere in the world. It allows for massively scalable, real-time coordination between local and international response organizations to minimize response time and maximize effectiveness during disasters in Chile and throughout the world.
- Mobile Multimodal Colposcopy, MobileOCT -- in partnership with Scripps Medical Clinic developed technology that enables any mobile phone with a digital camera to serve clinicians as a multimodal cervical cancer screening device to deliver point-of-care service, so that clinicians can rapidly diagnose and, through telemedicine, obtain a second opinion.
- Soko Enterprise Project -- empowers marginalized SMEs with access to the global marketplace through a focus on the development of an integrated sales and enterprise solution. SEP helps SMEs formalize their operations and provide competitive products and services. These tools enable small scale producers to manage production and operations, sell to global consumers, and get paid directly all via mobile.
- Speaklear, Automatic Evaluation and Treatment of Pathological Speech Disorders -- from Arizona State University proposes new telemedicine applications for evaluating/treating communication disorders in underserved communities and for individuals that cannot access traditional services. The aim is to integrate novel technology (based on signal processing and machine learning) for speech evaluation within a mobile platform that allows for remote assessment and treatment of patients with communication disorders.
- TaroWorks™, Accelerating Social Impact in the Last Mile -- A product of Grameen Foundation, TaroWorks is a mobile field force management tool. Built for organizations working in the most difficult places on the planet, and where connectivity is limited, TaroWorks provides real-time data and feedback loops that connect the head office directly to field staff and beneficiaries.
Previous winners have received additional funding that has enabled them to further develop and grow their innovations, as well as hire additional talent. Some of the innovations -- in the market and also in beta testing -- are already impacting people and countries around the world.
Winners will be announced during the Social Innovation Summit 2014 being held at the United Nations Plaza, May 28-29.
Chair of the Vodafone Americas Foundation and Head of Vodafone xone, Vodafone's innovation, incubation and venture arm based in the Silicon Valley, Fay Arjomandi said, "This is an exciting stage for many start-up organizations that are seeking to bring their applications and technologies for social good to the people who need it the most. In a few short months, the organizations our judges have selected as the most cutting edge and viable concepts will not only receive financial support, but will be able to draw on the cutting-edge labs and expertise of a global leader in mobile technology. Some of our past WIP winners have already gone to market to make and have started to make a difference in people's lives."
For more details on the Wireless Innovation Project, visit vodafone-us.com.
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About the Vodafone Americas Foundation™
Vodafone Americas Foundation™ is part of Vodafone's global network of 28 foundations. It is affiliated with Vodafone Group Plc., the world's leading mobile telecommunications company, with more than 409 million customers around the world. Vodafone has equity interests in telecommunications operations in nearly 30 countries and around 50 partner networks worldwide. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com
In the U.S., the foundation directs its philanthropic activities towards supporting mobile for good and wireless technology projects that improve people's lives, support the international development sector, and spark innovation.
Vodafone is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies with approximately 419 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as of 31 December 2013. Vodafone has equity interests in telecommunications operations in nearly 30 countries and around 50 partner networks worldwide. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com