Each year, nearly four million newborn babies never live past their first days -- all for lack of warmth.
At least a billion people globally have limited -- or no access -- to clean water. And while almost half the world's population cooks with wood or other biomass fuels, indoor-air pollution generated by cooking fires contributes to the premature deaths of nearly two million people annually.
Enter the "techmanitarians" -- a dozen international innovators who toil with unequaled resolve to eliminate these and other persistent global challenges. Their noble achievements will be recognized Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 at the Santa Clara Convention Center during Silicon Valley's leading awards program, The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials in association with the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University.
"We are inspired by the laureates' desire to improve the world through the creative use of technology and their perseverance to this end," said Tim Ritchie, president of The Tech Museum. "Their lives and work serve as a challenge to us: Do we desire to make our work count for others, and are we willing to use our considerable assets to build a better world?"
This year, two cash prizes will be awarded -- $75,000 and $25,000 -- in each of six of The Tech Awards categories: Intel Environment Award; Microsoft Education Award; The Swanson Foundation Young Innovator Award; Nokia Health Award; Flextronics Economic Development Award, and The Sustainable Energy Award.
Since the inception of The Tech Awards program in 2001, 257 laureates have been recognized. Their pioneering work has included designing earthquake-resistant construction technology to creating a heat-sensitive label for vaccine vials to make sure children receive potent immunizations to building a simple, low-cost, mobile phone-based device that allows remote monitoring and operation of irrigation pumps.
"Through their outstanding creativity and conviction, this year's laureates are providing innovative solutions to some of humanity's most urgent problems," said Mike Splinter, Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials. "In many ways, the Tech Awards embody the spirit of Silicon Valley and the belief that technology can improve people's lives and make the world a better place."
As part of The Tech Awards, Indian philanthropist N.R. Narayana Murthy, will be honored with the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award sponsored by Applied Materials. This award honors individuals whose broad vision and leadership help to alleviate humanity's greatest challenges. Murthy founded tech services giant Infosys Limited along with six colleagues and went on to become one of India's most influential advocates for health care and rural development.
Murthy served as the first CEO for 21 years and currently holds the role of Chairman Emeritus at the global technology services company. Infosys established the Infosys Foundation in 1996. The Infosys Foundation works in partnership with non-governmental organizations to help underprivileged rural communities in India that are focusing on five initiatives: healthcare, education, culture, destitute care and rural development.
Murthy, who has been lauded by TIME magazine, honored by CNBC and praised by Ernst & Young as World Entrepreneur of the Year, joins an impressive roster of past recipients that includes former eBay head and champion of equitable society Jeff Skoll, education and cross-cultural dialogue advocate Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Applied's former Chairman and CEO James C. Morgan, who inspired the award.
The Tech Awards laureates 2012 represent regions as diverse as Africa, India, South America and the United States. Their work impacts people in many more countries worldwide.
During their week-long stay in Silicon Valley, the laureates are engaged in specialized business and media training, networking with leading tech companies and venture capitalists, as well as learning about the experiences of fellow laureates.
Applications will be accepted for next year's laureates beginning November 1, 2012.
THE TECH AWARDS LAUREATES 2012
Intel Environment Award
Arup K. SenGupta
Transforming Arsenic Crisis into an Economic Enterprise
Southeast Asia; India
Problem: According to World Health Organization (WHO), over 200 million resource-poor people are threatened with arsenic poisoning by drinking contaminated groundwater in Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Solution: Use of appropriate simple-to-operate technology in rural setting to transform arsenic crisis into an economic enterprise while protecting human health.
Impact: Over 200,000 people including school children are benefiting in arsenic-affected countries.
LEHR, Inc. Propane Outboard Motors
U.S. and Canada
Problem: Small gasoline engines cause excessive pollution, yet electric/battery solutions do not provide the performance required to be a universally viable alternative.
Solution: Patented gaseous-fueled engines that significantly reduce/eliminate pollution while improving performance and reducing cost of ownership.
Impact: About 100,000 lawn and garden engines that eliminate evaporative emissions while reducing VOC (Volatile organic compounds) emissions. Marine outboard engines that eliminated fuel spills into water while reducing methyl-mercury-causing particulate emissions by up to 96 percent.
Microsoft Education Award
Problem: Basic health and agriculture knowledge isn't reaching the world's poorest billion people due to illiteracy and lack of electricity.
Solution: A simple and durable, battery-operated, audio computer playing locally produced lessons that address the practical needs of people in oral cultures.
Impact: 250,000 lessons delivered to 20,000 farmers in the poorest regions of Ghana. Farmers harvested 48 percent more crops and 90 percent of maternal health lessons led to healthier behaviors.
Problem: Research shows that despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent worldwide on HIV "awareness" campaigns over 30 years, accurate knowledge of HIV still remains dangerously low.
Solution: Re-imagine the worldwide public health solution to focus on actual "education" rather than "awareness" and develop the most effective and flexible HIV education software after 5+ years of cross-disciplinary research at Stanford.
Impact: Provide HIV education with unprecedented efficacy to more than 200 organizations and governments in 73 countries, educating millions around the world, and including breakthrough implementations in regions that had banned sex education.
Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award
Problem: Prohibitive upfront prices for clean-energy products prevent millions of off-grid Africans from accessing healthy and economical lighting and battery charging.
Solution: Low-cost, embedded pay-as-you-go technology that allows customers to pre-pay for energy use with cash-in-hand. Remotely regulated over cellular networks and integrated with existing mobile money platforms, these energy payments are cheaper than typical kerosene expenditures.
Impact: Clean, bright light and cell-phone charging is financially accessible for over 90 percent of the base of the pyramid market.
Safe Agua Peru, Art Center College
Problem: In Cerro Verde, a slum on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, 30,000 people live without access to running water and sanitation.
Solution: Design and co-create with Cerro Verde families, innovative and cost-effective products tested by the community and implemented by Techo, a Latin American NGO dedicated to working with families living in extreme poverty.
Impact: Empower families and communities through responsible design to conserve water, reduces illness and generate social, cultural, and economic change.
Nokia Health Award
Problem: Every year almost 2 million people die prematurely from indoor pollution caused by smoky open cooking fires; these same fires contribute more black carbon than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.
Solution: The BioLite Homestove is a low-cost, highly efficient wood-burning stove that dramatically reduces smoke and harmful black carbon emissions while reducing fuel needs by 50 percent.
Impact: A single HomeStove pays for itself in six to seven months, and lowers the rates of potentially fatal respiratory diseases while saving 2,000 pounds of wood per year and averting the C02 emissions of a compact car.
Problem: 1.1 million pre-term babies die every year; 75 percent could survive with inexpensive treatment.
Solution: A low-cost infant warmer specifically designed to address the needs of babies suffering from hypothermia.
Impact: Thousands of babies may be impacted by the warmers currently distributed with 11 partnerships in eight countries.
Flextronics Economic Development Award
Grameen Foundation USA
Community Knowledge Worker
Problem: Small farmers often lack knowledge and information on agriculture.
Solution: Deploying trained intermediaries. Information and advice increases yields and profits.
Impact: Work with 65,000 farmers in more than 8,800 villages to increase yields and profits
Pamela C. Ronald, David Mackill, Kenong Xu
Rice Submergence Tolerance
Problem: Yields of rice, the most important crop for over half of our planet, are catastrophically reduced during floods. Because rice provides up to two thirds of the diet of many people in the developing world, many who live on less than $1 day, these losses have devastating impacts on farmers and their families.
Solution: Identification of a submergence tolerance gene and precise introduction of the gene into locally adapted varieties favored by farmers using modern molecular breeding.
Impact: In 2011, a million farmers grew "Sub1 rice," with millions more expected in the next few years. Yields of "Sub1" rice are three to five folds greater than conventional varieties during floods.
Sustainable Energy Award
Problem: Clean cooking fuel is inaccessible for 30 million people in Uganda and 28 million poor farmers have no access to fertilizers.
Solution: Simple, locally made technology that can be used by local people to convert sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel and organic fertilizers.
Impact: 6,000 families already benefiting from the technology, with 10,000 more expected to be reached by the end of 2013.
Problem: 400 million people in India, and more than 1.5 billion worldwide are without access to reliable electricity.
Solution: Simple, affordable, pay-as-you-use pricing and mobile payment for off-grid solar energy solutions.
Impact: By 2015, more than 250,000 households with access to clean energy, 6.5 megawatts of distributed solar power installed, more than 160,000 tons of CO2 displaced.
Notes to Editor
About The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech Museum is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum -- located in the Capital of Silicon Valley -- is a non-profit, experiential learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing applied technologies affecting their lives. Through programs such as The Tech Challenge presented by Cisco, our annual team-design competition for youth, and internationally renowned programs such as The Tech Awards presented by Applied Materials, The Tech Museum endeavors to inspire the innovator in everyone.
About Applied Materials
Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) is the global leader in providing innovative equipment, services and software to enable the manufacture of advanced semiconductor, flat panel display and solar photovoltaic products. Our technologies help make innovations like smartphones, flat screen TVs and solar panels more affordable and accessible to consumers and businesses around the world. At Applied Materials, we turn today's innovations into the industries of tomorrow. Learn more at www.appliedmaterials.com.
About the Center for Science, Technology, and Society
The mission of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) is to accelerate global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Through its signature program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBIâ„¢), as well as the Frugal Innovation Lab, research in Impact Capital, and collaboration with The Tech Awards, the Center engages business and technical resources to build the capacity of social enterprises around the world. As a Center of Distinction at Santa Clara University, the Center leverages its programs to inspire faculty and students with real-world case studies, distinctive curriculum, and unique research opportunities, advancing the university's vision of creating a more just, humane, and sustainable world. More information can be found at www.scu.edu/socialbenefit.
For more information about The Tech Awards, visit: http://thetechawards.thetech.org/